S■ Jon Coupal-Blanca Rubio / Contributed
tarting on January 1st, Californians who park their cars next to a parking meter only to find that it’s broken won’t have to worry that a parking ticket will be waiting on their windshield when they come back, thanks to a new law.
Assembly Bill 1625, introduced by Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, prevents local governments from banning parking at metered spaces with broken meters or parking kiosks. The driver-friendly bill was supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
In 2014, San Francisco collected $130 million from parking tickets and Los Angeles took in $165 million.
In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Los Angeles collected $148 million from parking tickets but, because of high overhead costs, the city treasury only received 28 percent, or about $42 million.
Part of that overhead is the cost of paying private contractors, which turns city parking fines into a business as well as a source of public revenue.
AB1625 helps to give cities and private contractors an incentive to repair broken meters and kiosks — therefore preventing thousands of consumers from being wrongfully ticketed for circumstances outside of their control.
AB1625 helps to give cities and private contractors an incentive to repair broken meters and kiosks — therefore preventing thousands of consumers from being wrongfully ticketed for circumstances outside of their control.”
A 2012 state law, Senate Bill 1388, established the general rule that vehicle owners could park without penalty in any parking space where the meter or payment center was inoperable, up to the posted time limit. But SB 1388 also allowed a city or county to ban parking at meters or kiosks that aren’t working, as long as adequate notice of the rule was provided.
After reports of some cities abusing their authority to ticket cars at broken meters or kiosks, then-Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced Assembly Bill 61, a law that took effect on January 1, 2014. While the law removed the authority for local governments to ticket cars at broken meters, it contained a sunset clause and was only temporary. The law expired on January 1, 2017.
But now Rubio’s law, which was signed by Gov. Brown in September, makes AB61 permanent. As of January 1, motorists will not be ticketed anywhere in California if they park at a broken meter for up to the posted time limit or, if no limit is posted, for up to four hours.
Parking meters are going high-tech, and it’s just a fact that sometimes technology fails to work correctly. The city of Sacramento has begun an audit of its parking system after nearly 4,000 erroneous citations had to be dismissed. San Francisco is looking at a plan to expand its demand-pricing system of adjustable hourly rates, now operational on 7,000 parking meters, to all 30,200 in the city.
It’s important to protect Californians from being wrongfully ticketed for something beyond their control. That’s why we were proud and pleased to be able to bring this measure forward and see it enacted into law.
Jon Coupal is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio represents the 48th District in Los Angeles County.