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SENATE BILL NO. 166
INTRODUCED BY J. LYNCH, B. PAVLOVICH, T. KEATING, R. CLARK
AN ACT REVISING COUNTY SHERIFF AND CITY POLICE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR HANDLING ABANDONED VEHICLES; PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN ABANDONED VEHICLE REMOVAL CHARGES FROM MOTOR VEHICLE DISPOSAL FEES, SUBJECT TO THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING; TRANSFERRING RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING VALUE OF A JUNK VEHICLE FROM THE STATE TO COUNTIES; AMENDING SECTIONS 61-12-401, 61-12-402, 61-12-403, 61-12-404, 75-10-503, AND 75-10-532, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 61-12-401, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-12-401. Taking vehicle into custody. (1) The following law enforcement agencies may take into custody any
motor vehicle found abandoned for a period of 48 hours or more on
any a public highway , or for a period of 5 days or more
on any a city street, public property, or private property:
(a) the Montana highway patrol if the vehicle is upon the right-of-way of any public highway other than a county road;
(b) the sheriff of the county if the vehicle is upon the right-of-way of any county road
within the county;
(c) the city police if the vehicle is upon a city street
within the city.
(2) The Montana highway patrol, sheriff of the county, or
the city police may use its or his their personnel, equipment,
and facilities for the removal and storage of the vehicle , or may hire other personnel, equipment, and facilities for those
purposes. The sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the city in which the vehicle is being stored may request
reimbursement of the hired removal charge from the motor vehicle recycling and disposal program of the department of
environmental quality in an amount and manner established by rules adopted by the department of environmental quality
for this purpose.
(3) At the request of the owner or person in lawful possession or control of the private property, the sheriff of the county in which the vehicle is located or the city police of the city in which the vehicle is located may remove and hold it in the manner and upon the conditions provided in subsections (1) and (2)."
Section 2. Section 61-12-402, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-12-402. Notice to owner. (1) Within 72 hours after a vehicle is removed and held by or at the direction of the
Montana highway patrol, the highway patrol shall notify the sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the city in which
was located at the time it was taken into custody of the place where the vehicle is being held stored of where
and when the vehicle was taken into custody and of where the vehicle is being stored. In addition, the Montana highway
patrol shall furnish the sheriff or the chief of police:
(a) a complete description of the vehicle, including year, make, model, serial number, and license number if available;
(b) any costs incurred to that date in the removal, storage, and custody of the vehicle; and
(c) any available information concerning
its the vehicle's ownership.
(2) The highway patrol shall notify the sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the city in which the vehicle was taken into custody of the location at which the vehicle is being stored if the vehicle was removed to a different county.
(2)(3) The sheriff or the city police in the jurisdiction where the vehicle is being stored shall make reasonable efforts to
ascertain the name and address of the owner, lienholder, or person entitled to possession of the vehicle taken into custody
under 61-12-401. If a name and address are ascertained, the sheriff or the city police shall notify the owner, lienholder, or
person of the location of the vehicle. (3)(4) If the vehicle is registered in the office of the department, notice is considered to have been given when a
certified letter addressed to the registered owner of the vehicle and lienholder, if any, at the latest address shown by the
records in the office of the department, return receipt requested and postage prepaid, is mailed at least 30 days before the
vehicle is sold. (4)(5) If the identity of the last-registered owner cannot be determined, if the registration does not contain an address for
the owner, or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and addresses of all lienholders, notice
by one publication in one newspaper of general circulation in the county where the motor vehicle was abandoned is being
stored is sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this part. The notice by publication may contain multiple
listings of abandoned vehicles. The notice must be provided in the same manner as prescribed in 25-13-701(1)(b). (5)(6) If the abandoned vehicle is in the possession of a motor vehicle wrecking facility licensed under 75-10-511, the
wrecking facility may make the required search to ascertain the name and address of the owner, lienholder, or person
entitled to possession of the vehicle and shall give the notices required in subsections (2) (3) through (4) (5). The wrecking
facility shall deliver to the sheriff or the city police a certificate describing the efforts made to ascertain the name and
address of the owner, lienholder, or person entitled to possession of the vehicle and shall deliver to the sheriff or the city
police proof of the notice given. (6)(7) A vehicle found by law enforcement officials to be a junk vehicle, as defined by 75-10-501, and that has a value
of $500 or less , as determined by the department, may be directly submitted for disposal in accordance with the provisions
of Title 75, chapter 10, part 5, upon a release given by the sheriff or the city police. The county representative designated to
implement the county motor vehicle recycling and disposal program pursuant to 75-10-521 for the county where the vehicle
is being stored shall determine the value of the vehicle. In the release, the sheriff or the city police shall include a
description of the vehicle, including year, make, model, serial number, and license number if available. A release provided
by the sheriff or the city police under this section must be transmitted to the motor vehicle wrecking facility and must be
considered by that facility to meet the requirements for records under 75-10-512 and 75-10-513. Vehicles described in this
section may be submitted for disposal without notice and without a required holding period."
Section 3. Section 61-12-403, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-12-403. Reclaiming vehicle. The owner, lienholder, or person entitled to possession of the vehicle may reclaim it
at any time after it is taken into custody and before it is sold.
He The owner, lienholder, or person entitled to possession of
the vehicle shall present to the sheriff of the county or the city police of the city in which where the vehicle was located at
the time it was taken into custody is being stored satisfactory proof of ownership or right to possession , and shall pay the
costs and expenses incurred in the removal, storage, and custody of the vehicle. He shall The person reclaiming the vehicle
may not be required to pay storage charges for a period longer than 90 days."
Section 4. Section 61-12-404, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-12-404. Sale of vehicle if not reclaimed. (1) If a vehicle is not reclaimed, as provided in 61-12-403, within 30
days after notification by
registered or certified mail or prescribed publication, the sheriff of the county or the city police of
the city in which it is located at the time it was taken into custody the vehicle is being stored shall sell it at public auction in
the manner provided in 25-13-701 through 25-13-709.
any a vehicle has been so sold pursuant to subsection (1), the former owner or person entitled to possession
has no further right, title, claim, or interest in or to the vehicle."
Section 5. Section 75-10-503, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-503. Adoption of rules. (1) The department shall adopt rules necessary for the administration of this part, except 75-10-520, including but not limited to rules pertaining to:
(a) the establishment, control, operation, and licensing of motor vehicle wrecking facilities and graveyards;
(b) the control of junk vehicles in locations other than motor vehicle wrecking facilities and graveyards;
(c) the inspection and evaluation of premises and records subject to or required by this part;
(d) the development of budget and fiscal forms and procedures for counties;
(e) the review, approval, and control procedures for county motor vehicle graveyards developed under this part; and
(f) the shielding of a junk vehicle and motor vehicle wrecking facility and graveyard from public view. The department
may not adopt a rule that requires any motor vehicle wrecking facility that existed prior to July 1, 1973, and that has been
thereafter as a motor vehicle wrecking facility to construct a fence or manmade barrier that would be in
excess of 12 feet in height.
(2) The department shall adopt rules authorizing the sale of junk vehicles by county motor vehicle graveyards to licensed motor vehicle wrecking facilities.
(3) The department shall adopt rules providing for the reimbursement of hired removal charges of certain abandoned vehicles in accordance with 61-12-401."
Section 6. Section 75-10-532, MCA, is amended to read:
"75-10-532. Disposition of money collected. All money received from the sale of the junk vehicles or from recycling of the material and all motor vehicle wrecking facility license fees and fees collected as motor vehicle disposal fees must be deposited with the state treasurer to be used for the control, collection, recycling, and disposal of junk vehicles and component parts and, to the extent the legislature appropriates funds expressly and solely for this purpose, for the removal of abandoned vehicles."
Section 7. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1999.
- END -
Latest Version of SB 166 (SB0166.ENR)
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