ATLANTA — A bill that would outlaw vehicle booting in Georgia cleared a big hurdle at the state capitol this week.
The legislation introduced by Democrat State Senator Josh McLaurin and Republican Senator John Albers would ban booting by both private companies and government agencies.
“I came to the conclusion I think it’s time to just shut the entire industry down,” McLaurin said.
The senate bill banning booting has been attached to a bill that’s already passed the house.
It was passed out of committee in the Senate this week.
But it is opposed not just booting companies but also some property owners concerned with how they would enforce parking in their lots or garages, without booting.
“What you’ve got is an inherently predatory industry that relies on the overuse and abuse of these boots to stay afloat,” McLaurin said.
Jackie Moore got booted outside of popular midtown Atlanta restaurants on Juniper Street.
“He refused to take the boot off my car until I paid 75 bucks,” Moore said.
She thought she had paid for parking at the pay station. But it turns out that was for the neighboring lot.
Moore thinks the confusion was intentional.
“He sits right here, and he waits, and they look for who pays here, and they boot them,” she said.
Matt Wetherington is an Atlanta attorney who estimates he’s handled tens of thousands of booting cases.
“This is a process where the booting company acts as judge jury and executioner for their own perceived crimes and there’s no recourse available to them,” Wetherington said.
He says it’s time for the industry to go.
“I’m trying to work myself out of a job,” Wetherington said.
The bill is now in the hands of the Senate Rules Committee that will decide if and when it gets a vote before the full Senate.
“I don’t have any illusion that it’s going to be easy to get a senate floor vote,” McLaurin said. “I bet you if we put this bill on the Senate floor for a vote, I bet it would pass.”
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