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Bill seeks to chill cities' 'abusive' enforcement of motor vehicle registration laws

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 6:45 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The good news is no one cuts Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank any slack in the city's strict enforcement of motor vehicle registration laws.

Last year, Burbank received four citations from the Salt Lake City Public Services Compliance Department, which is not under the police department. Burbank received one citation because a decal on his license plate was faded. 

The bad news, state lawmakers said, is the chief's experiences are indicative of enforcement practices Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, says are "harassing and abusive." 

SB137, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, would prohibit a local government from enacting ordinances or leveling fines that conflict or are more stringent than state motor vehicle registration requirements.

"I hope this bill sends the message this won't be tolerated," Thatcher said.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously Thursday. Weiler said if he does not observe a course correction on the part of municipalities, he may return in the 2014 legislative session with amendments to allow people who are harassed in this manner to seek civil damages.

"The Legislature is taking this very seriously," Weiler said.

Marjorie Cortez

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