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Administrative tow law - even more unfair

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Administrative tow law - even more unfair

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 18, 2013

An article earlier this week addressed the consideration by "booming" Holiday Hills, Ill. to turn its officers loose with an administrative tow law. While they have not acted to finalize it, you can bet that they will join the other municipalities that have jumped on this bandwagon.

I've been writing about the unfairness of the fee-return policy. If the charges in McHenry County Circuit Court are tossed or if the State fails to proceed, the owner of the impounded vehicle cannot get his $500 back. He must have a trial ($$$) and be found Not Guilty.

Who charges an administrative tow fine of $500? Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Harvard, Hebron, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Richmond and Woodstock.

Barrington Hills, Huntley and Marengo tell me that they don't have this type of ordinance.

Spring Grove goes a little easier on folks; just $350.

The provision that allows municipalities to avoid refunding the fine, in the event of a dismissal of charges, does not seem to be in the law. Cities have added that on their own.

Now, what's another unfair part of this law?

625 ILCS 5/11-208.7(h) provides that a vehicle will be deemed abandoned, if it is not retrieved within 35 days after the administrative hearing officer issues Illinois Vehicle Code. Sound a little like confiscation to you?

This is a terrible State law. Does anyone care? Who do you suppose was responsible for this state law that opened the doors for municipalities to go into action this way? Some organization must have proposed it to a handful of legislators and then lobbied hard for it.

Does anyone the organization's name or the legislators who supported the bill? The bill was passed and became Public Act 97-109. A while back I heard that the Illinois Municipal League had pushed for it. Does anyone know? Does anyone know the Bill number that became law?

While searching for it, I came across the index page for the 97th General Assembly 2011 Spring Session Legislative Update, prepared (apparently) by the Illinois State Police, under the direction of Director Hiram Grau. On the index page, toward the bottom, is printed EMPOYMENT [sic] CHAPTER 820 ... (Page) 34.

I kid you not. How many highly-paid people do you think proofread that report? Apparently, not enough.

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