Post Date: November 21, 2013
Tow trucks aren’t a top priority for FAMM. In fact, we don’t even think about them unless one of us has a flat tire. But I’m happy to report that, at the last minute, we managed to improve a tow truck bill that the Massachusetts Senate passed yesterday. The final bill removed language that would have barred most drug offenders from access to certain jobs – and for no good reason.
Last week, we learned that the Senate was getting ready to vote on a bill to regulate certain towing services. It included a section that would prevent those who have been convicted of almost any drug offense from either driving a tow truck or running a towing service. FAMM alerted our friends at the ACLU, EPOCA and Mass. Communities Action Network and together we worked with key senators to get action on the bill postponed until this week.
Yesterday, FAMM sent a letter to every member of the Senate, urging them to take out that section of the bill. We pointed out that such a ban adds one more barrier to re-entry after drug offenders leave prison. In addition, there’s no evidence showing any connection between a prior drug conviction and the person’s current ability to safely tow vehicles or run a business. The Senate agreed.
The Department of Public Utilities, which is the state agency responsible for issuing permits for towing services, will make the final rules on who should or should not be allowed to operate a tow truck. That’s fine – there are public safety issues to consider. But at least there won’t be another state law with a one-size-fits-all punishment for drug offenders.
Barbara J. Dougan
Massachusetts Project Director
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
Contact FAMM’s Massachusetts Project:
By phone: (617) 543-0878
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By mail: P.O. Box 54, Arlington, MA 02476