New Los Angeles parking meters being readied for installation.

New Los Angeles parking meters being readied for installation. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times / January 7, 2013)

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) introduced legislation on Monday that would prevent authorities from issuing tickets to California drivers who park at a broken or malfunctioning meter.

“It’s just wrong for cities to ticket people who want to park at a meter that the city has failed to fix, or to force a motorist to drive around or park in a paid lot when a perfectly good spot on the street is available,” Gatto said in a statement. 

Assembly Bill 61 would essentially prevent local governments from enacting laws that make it illegal to park in a space controlled by a broken meter.

The Los Angeles City Council last year upheld a law prohibiting drivers from parking at broken meters, allowing the city to continue ticketing drivers. The ordinance was approved after state legislators unanimously passed a law that permitted parking at a broken meter up to the maximum time allowed by the meter – unless there was an ordinance prohibiting it.

Gatto said that he introduced AB 61 to close the loophole and prevent cities from penalizing drivers for the mistakes of local government.

“It is the responsibility of local governments to maintain their meters and keep them in good working order,” Gatto said in his statement.  “The people should not have to pay for the government’s mistakes or inefficiencies, especially when the people already paid to install and maintain the meters in the first place."

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

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