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Gatto’s ‘California Broken Parking Meter Ticket’ Law Signed by Gov. Brown


Assemblyman Mike Gatto.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

Sacramento, CA – Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) legislation to prohibit local governments from fleecing motorists who park at broken parking meters was signed by Governor Brown.
Gatto introduced the bill in January 2013 due to outrage, both popular and personal, at cities who were changing their parking laws to make them unfair to motorists. The measure will ensure cities such as Los Angeles fix their broken meters in a responsive and timely manner by prohibiting them from ticketing cars parked at such meters.
In response to Assemblyman Gatto’s legislation, the Los Angeles City Council rushed to temporarily repeal their ordinance that allows for ticketing at broken meters, but voted to preserve their ability to reinstate the unfair policy after a six-month trial. AB 61 would eliminate this authority and allow motorists to park in spaces controlled by a broken meter for the maximum time allowed by the meter.
“Local control’ does not provide a right to fleece taxpayers,” said Gatto.
“The question of parking at a broken meter should not be up for review or reconsideration every six months, nor should motorists be subject to confusing ordinances as they drive from city to city. It’s time to end this unfair practice throughout California.”
AB 61 guarantees that parking spots remain available to the motorists, shop owners, and small businesses that rely on them, even when the meter is not working properly. This was the law in California from 1935 to 2012, until a few cities began considering ordinances to reverse it, and the Los Angeles City Council actually passed an ordinance allowing for the ticketing of drivers who park at broken meters.
“Taxpayers already pay for street maintenance, meter installation, and meter upkeep,” said Gatto. “Local governments should take responsibility and keep parking meters in good working order, not squeeze a double-penalty out of cash-strapped citizens.”
An NBC4 investigative report found that, in a single year, more than 17,000 parking tickets had been issued for meters that had been reported to the City of Los Angeles as malfunctioning or broken. The overwhelming majority of these meters were not intentionally broken by motorists but, rather, had internal malfunctions which the city had failed to fix. As cities transition from traditional meters to electronic ATM-like parking kiosks, which are more durable but subject to the intricacies of complex electronics and the whim of Internet connections, this pattern is expected to stay the same.
“Forcing a motorist to drive around aimlessly in search of a parking spot is not healthy for the driver or for the environment,” said Gatto. “And it’s just wrong to force a driver into an expensive lot when perfectly good spots are available on the street.”
The law will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto