Senate Bill No. 252
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act revising county sheriff responsibilities for handling abandoned vehicles and providing for payment of certain abandoned vehicle removal charges from motor vehicle disposal fees; 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."
STATEMENT OF INTENT
A statement of intent is required for this bill because it gives the department of environmental quality authority to adopt additional administrative rules to establish the amount and manner of reimbursement of certain unpaid abandoned vehicle towing charges from state motor vehicle disposal fees.
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 department 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 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 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 any 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 in which the vehicle
was located at the
time it was taken into custody and 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
(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 chief law enforcement officer of the county 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 and 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 registered
or 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 can 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) through (4). 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 certified as
having an appraised value of $500 or less, as determined by the department of revenue, may be directly submitted for
disposal in accordance with the provisions of part 5 of chapter 10, Title 75, upon a release given by the sheriff or the city
police. 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 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 The person reclaiming the vehicle shall 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.
(2) After any 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 the removal of abandoned vehicles."
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.