(Andrew Doughman/Nevada News Bureau) – It has been called the most lobbied bill during the legislative session, and it is has nothing to do with taxes.
All the fuss is about changes to the tow truck and auto salvage industry.
In one corner are a wealthy business owner who often contributes to political campaigns, the auto insurance industry, the AFL-CIO and a former Speaker of the Assembly whose clients include a now-indicted poker company.
In the other corner are tow truck companies, salvage yards, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and a group called the Nevada Tow Car Council.
Somewhere in the middle are two groups: citizen members of the Nevada Assembly, some of whom professed to know little of about the auto industry during a hearing yesterday, and average Nevadans who pay auto insurance and may someday have a vehicle towed.
At stake are potentially lucrative, monopolistic deals for business groups.
Senate Bill 407 would change how tow companies treat vehicles that end up in accidents in Clark County. Tow companies currently take those vehicles to their lots, where people can find their vehicles later.
A proposed amendment to the bill would allow insurance companies to contract with an independent storage lot. If you got in a wreck, your vehicle would go to the insurance company’s lot, where you could retrieve it later.
“I don’t know where all the money is coming from on that bill, but there is a huge lobbying effort on that,” said Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who heard the bill in a Senate Transportation Committee last month. “There were so many good people on both sides of it that both made good points.”