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BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for July 8, 2010

McKissick: Durham's towing bill removal was temporary to await City feedback late in arriving

We wrote here yesterday about the curious case of Sen. Bob Rucho's (R-Mecklenburg) bill in the General Assembly that proposed improved consumer protections and notifications for those whose cars are snapped up from private lots by towing services.

In yesterday's story, we reflected on why state Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr. (D-Durham) requested for Durham to be pulled from the bill in June during its hearing in the state Senate.

The bill moved on to the House, where Paul Luebke (according to the Herald-Sun) added-back the City of Durham after consulting with City staff on the matter. And the N&O now notes that the bill has been passed in the House and looks to be on a smooth course to becoming law.

So why the pull in the first place?

In a conversation late Wednesday, McKissick clarified his position to BCR -- and says that he actually reached out to City Hall back in June when the whole thing started for the municipality's opinion, but didn't hear back.

Not, mind you, that a state act should be the preferred path for solving the issue in Durham, McKissick said.

Noting his own eight-year service on City Council and familiarity with municipal issues and ways, McKissick told BCR that he would prefer the City to put together some sort of special committee to review the state of towing within the community and to propose Durham-specific rules for regulation of towing.

When the bill came up in the state Senate, McKissick said, he had no idea what the position of the City was on the legislation.

So he asked for Durham to be removed on a temporary basis to give time to get City Hall's sense on the matter, McKissick said. But McKissick said he didn't hear back a position one way or another on the measure until this week, after the matter started hitting the newspapers.

McKissick added that he wasn't aware the issue had been a big one for the City or for Durhamites; as we noted yesterday, it wasn't an item that's appeared on the municipality's legislative priorities list in recent times.

The senator told BCR he still has reservations over a couple of provisions in the matter. He described an instance where he'd seen a videotape of the towing of an illegally-parked car where a vehicle owner in the wrong still managed to pursue legal liability against those responsible for the tow.

And he noted concern with the 24" x 24" minimum size rule for signage at private lots. Many lot owners used the same size signs that cities use for "No Parking" messages on streetposts, he said, and those are less than the 4 sq. ft. size under discussion here.

Asked about industry lobbying from the Towing and Recovery Professionals of North Carolina, McKissick said he had received no contact over the bill -- and in fact, the TRPNC's president, Greensboro's Bobby Disher, is quoted in the N&O as professing his organization's support for the measure.

Comments

Tar Heelz

Good follow-up by BCR and from Sen. McKissick.

Ward 2

Another sign of City Hall being out of touch. At least we now know they not only ignore the Citizens of Durham, but treat the State Delegation the same way. Hilarious....

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