Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, including without limitation, the provisions of section twenty-two B of chapter ninety of the General Laws, the city of Boston shall be governed by the terms of this act rather than, and as an alternative to, said section twenty-two B. In the city of Boston, the following provisions shall apply:
(a) Proceedings under this section shall not be deemed criminal.
(b) For purposes of this act, "owner" shall be defined as the person or entity registered as the owner of a motor vehicle in the records of the registry of motor vehicles or the person or entity who last had custody or possession of a motor vehicle, legally or otherwise, including, without limitation; operators and/or owners of automobile graveyards or junkyards, both as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and forty B of the General Laws.
(c) There shall be in the city of Boston a parking clerk designated or appointed pursuant to chapter two hundred and sixty-three of the acts of nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, as most recently amended by section thirteen B of chapter one hundred and ninety of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty-two. The parking clerk, in addition to his or her other duties under this or any other chapter, shall supervise and coordinate the processing of abandoned motor vehicles in Boston. The parking clerk shall have the authority to hire such personnel or to contract by competitive bid for such services, subject to appropriation, as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter two hundred and sixty-three of the acts of nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, as most recently amended by section thirteen A of chapter one hundred and ninety of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty-two, whoever abandons a motor vehicle, registered or unregistered, upon any public or private way, or upon any property other than his or her own, without the permission of the owner or lessee of said property, shall be fined two hundred and fifty dollars for the first such abandonment and five hundred dollars for each such abandonment thereafter. Further, such person shall be liable for all costs incurred by the city of Boston in removing and/or disposing of the subject motor vehicle, including but not limited to towing, storage, processing and disposal charges.
(e) It shall be the duty of every police officer or every person who the parking clerk has assigned responsibility for abandoned motor vehicles, who takes cognizance of an apparently abandoned motor vehicle, to give the owner of said vehicle a notice which shall be in the form of a tag affixed to the vehicle. Said tag shall include, but not be limited to, the following information regarding the abandoned vehicle: the date, location, make, color and, if available, the registration number and the vehicle identification number. The tag shall also contain a phone number and/or address at which the owner may obtain information regarding the status of the motor vehicle and the hearing procedure regarding abandoned motor vehicles, as described herein. The tag shall also state that after a specified period of time, the vehicle may be towed and disposed of.
(f) After a tag has been affixed to the vehicle, if the owner's identity is ascertained and the motor vehicle is still deemed to be abandoned pursuant to section twenty-two C of chapter ninety of the General Laws, the parking clerk or his designee shall send a written notice by first class mail to the owner's or last known registered owner's address as best determined through the registrar of motor vehicles. Such notice shall be deemed sufficient, whether or not actually received by the addressee(s), if mailed to the address furnished by said registrar. The notice shall include, but not be limited to, the following information regarding the abandoned vehicle: the date, location, make, color and, if available, the registration number and the vehicle identification number; the amount of the fine and costs assessed for the offense; and the date, time and place of the hearing established by the parking clerk. This written notice shall be in a format approved by the registrar of motor vehicles. Notwithstanding the hearing scheduled by the parking clerk, the owner may obtain a hearing prior to the scheduled hearing date by appearing at the office of the parking clerk during established business hours and requesting an immediate hearing regarding the apparently abandoned motor vehicle. Furthermore, notwithstanding the hearing scheduled by the parking clerk, the owner may request that the matter be adjudicated through an ex-parte hearing process.
(g) All hearings shall be held before a person hereinafter referred to as a hearing officer, said hearing officer to be the parking clerk or such person or persons as the parking clerk may designate. Hearings shall be informal, the rules of evidence shall not apply and decisions of the hearing officer shall be final and subject to judicial review as provided by section fourteen of chapter thirty A of the General Laws. No appeal or exceptions shall operate to stay the imposition of the fine and costs, the revocation or nonrenewal of the license or the prohibition of registration as provided for herein.
(h) Any person notified to appear before the parking clerk, as provided herein, may appear before the parking clerk, or his designee, to contest or confess the alleged violation, either personally or through an agent duly authorized in writing. In the alternative, any person notified to appear before the parking clerk may confess the alleged violation by mailing to the parking clerk the notice accompanied by the fine and any costs assessed, provided such payment is made only by postal note, money order or registered check made out to the city of Boston.
(i) If the owner fails to appear at a hearing, or fails to pay the fine and costs, the parking clerk shall, in the case of a person, notify the registrar of motor vehicles who shall place the matter on record and not renew the license of such person to operate a motor vehicle, and in the case of an entity, notify the appropriate persons to revoke and/or not renew the owner's license or permit to operate a business pertaining to the towing, storing, servicing or dismantling of motor vehicles, including, without limitation, automobile graveyards and junkyards. If the motor vehicle is registered in such owner's name or was last registered in his or her name, the registrar shall prohibit the registration and/or renewal of registration of any motor vehicle under his or her name. Such notice shall be in a format approved by the registrar of motor vehicles. Upon notification to the registrar of the owner's name, an additional ten dollar charge shall be assessed against the owner of the abandoned vehicle. This ten dollar charge shall be collected by the city of Boston and notification of these collections shall be made to the registrar of motor vehicles on a monthly basis. On or before September first of each year, the registrar shall certify the total number of ten dollar charges to be assessed against the city of Boston. This number shall equal the total number of notifications of actual collections by the city. The registrar shall transmit such certified assessments to the State Treasurer who shall include such assessments in the warrants prepared in accordance with section twenty of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws. All such actions taken by the registrar shall remain in effect until notice from the parking clerk that the matter has been disposed of in accordance with the law.
(j) Notwithstanding any other statutes, ordinances or regulations to the contrary, if the owner has abandoned a motor vehicle or vehicles on three occasions and has incurred a fine therefor, each subsequent abandonment, in addition to the fines and costs assessed herein, shall result, in the case of a person, in the revocation for one year of the owner's license to operate a motor vehicle, and in the case of an entity, in the revocation for one year of the owner's license or permit to operate a business pertaining to the towing, storing, servicing or dismantling of motor vehicles including, without limitation, automobile graveyards and junkyards. The one year time period shall run from the date on which the parking clerk's records show that a hearing was held and a fourth or subsequent abandonment was found or that a fine was received in the mail confessing a fourth or subsequent abandonment.
SECTION 2. The provisions of this act shall be deemed severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect immediately upon passage.