*Editor’s note: A name has been changed to protect the individual’s employment.
Idaho Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill introduced a bill on Feb. 8 that would clarify the legality of booting in Rexburg as well as the whole state.
“The bill fixes current statutes which apparently prohibit booting,” said State Representative Ron Nate. “This would allow booting, but provides regulations for how companies must operate in order to provide fairness to all parties.”
Nate said property owners should be allowed to protect rights regarding parking rules. Those who park illegally should be treated in a fair manner.
“The bill appears to be a reasonable compromise,” Nate said.
The bill, SB 1284, was passed by the Idaho Senate on Friday, Feb. 23, and then moved to the Idaho House for reading and review.
Scroll reported in July 2017 that booting came into question when Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rob Wood gave a presentation regarding the city’s policy on booting vehicles. Wood said in the meeting it was against the law to place a restraint around the tire of a parked vehicle, preventing the owner from driving anywhere.
In September 2017, Scroll reported that booting had been deemed legal again, but with restrictions.
“Without these changes, … the opinion has been that it definitely violates the state law,” Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill said in a September article. “The reason for these changes was to give us a stop gap measure that will help us to be in a defensible position so that the apartment owners can manage their parking lots in a way that they feel works for them.”
The new bill stipulates that parking enforcement companies must have a written contract with the property owner to boot or tow any vehicles on the property.
A booting notice is left on a car parked in the University Plaza parking lot at 383 S 2nd West by the roundabout. The lot is reserved for customers only and those who leave the premises risk being booted.
“The new bill will eliminate any chance of misinterpretation that booting is illegal,” said Luke Murray,* an employee of a booting company in Idaho.
Murray said booting is a better alternative to towing because the vehicle will not be moved, and the vehicle’s owner will not need to pay massive amounts of money to retrieve the vehicle. With booting, drivers only need to pay $60 to $70 instead of paying a $150 towing fee to release their vehicle.
“Fundamentally, I think that if people are booted in a stall, it’s counterintuitive,” said Kinnon Priest, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. “It keeps the car in a place where it should not be in for more time than it should.”
Priest said he considers booting in Rexburg to be a necessary evil with the limited parking available in Rexburg. He said he thinks there is a better way than booting to regulate parking.
“One problem is that some apartment complexes promote illegal parking by selling more parking passes than they have spaces for,” Priest said. “A possible solution to this … may be selling the stalls individually to make room for visitors.”
Murray said properties will have the ability to monitor how they choose, and likewise, appropriate visitor’s parking will be marked. Students are encouraged to pay attention to signs wherever they park to avoid being booted.