Calif. Assemblyman Mike GattoSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-43) introduced legislation today that will allow Californians to park for free at broken or malfunctioning parking meters for the maximum time allowed by the meter. The bill, AB 61, would prohibit local governments, such as cities and counties, from enacting an ordinance that bans parking in a space controlled by a broken meter or broken kiosk for on-street parking.

Last year, California legislators unanimously passed SB 1388 (DeSaulnier), which authorized parking at an inoperable parking meter for up to the posted time limit if no ordinance or resolution had been adopted to prohibit it. This language created a loophole that allowed for the Los Angeles city council to pass an ordinance to uphold the city’s policy of ticketing drivers who park in spaces with broken parking meters. Gatto’s bill would close this loophole and protect individuals from cities and counties that are overzealous in their parking enforcement.

“It’s just wrong for cities to ticket people who want to park at a meter that the city has failed to fix,” said Gatto. “Or to force a motorist to drive around or park in a paid lot when a perfectly good spot on the street is available.”

A NBC4 investigation found that more than 17,000 parking tickets had been issued, in a single year, for meters that had been reported as malfunctioning to the city of Los Angeles.

“It is the responsibility of local governments to maintain their meters and keep them in good working order,” said Gatto. “The people should not have to pay for the government’s mistakes or inefficiencies, especially when the people already paid to install and maintain the meters in the first place.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.