Parking ticket payment plan for low-income Californians now state law

Tom Lackey

For low-income Californians, a parking violation will no longer mean breaking the bank.

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 503, which will create a parking ticket payment plan for low-income drivers.

“It’s shocking how many Californians owe hundreds of dollars in parking ticket fines and late fees that they have no ability to pay,” the bill’s author Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) said in a statement to The Signal Monday. “This new law is all about making sure that all drivers are able to responsibly pay their debts.”

Cities will now be required to offer monthly payment programs and reduced fines before the Department of Motor Vehicles can withhold low-income individuals’ car registration.

Prior to the bill’s passage, unpaid parking tickets could accumulate into hundreds of dollars in fees and prevent drivers from registering their cars if their fines went unpaid.

The DMV was previously required to refuse vehicle registration renewal to someone with unpaid penalties.

This legislation was “long overdue,” according to Michael Herald, Director of Policy Advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“Just because someone is on a fixed income or low income shouldn’t be a barrier to registering their car as long as they are making payments on the ticket,” Herald said in a statement in June.

When the bill was moving through the legislature, it received 77 yes votes and three abstains on the Assembly floor the first time and 78 yes votes and one abstain the second time. On the Senate floor, it received 39 yes votes and one abstain.

Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) and Senators Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) and Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) voted in favor of the bill.

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