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Overdue drivers' tickets still go to collections

Apr 05, 2012 Mike Garretson

The Louisiana Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works recently refused a bill set forth by New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell that would've banned the practice of sending traffic tickets to collections, The Times-Picayune reports. In a 4-2 vote, the committee disagreed with Morrell's claim that transferring accounts to debt collection agencies is "unconstitutional." As a result of the vote, the bill remains in the committee and can be reheard at a later date. Morrell also argued that the collections actions hurt drivers' consumer credit scores, and that there are other ways to crack down on offenders - such as booting their vehicles. "It is dubiously legal the way they do this anyway," Morrell said, as quoted by the news source. "The vast majority of these fees don't go to the cities, they go to the companies that operate the cameras." However, John Gallagher, municipal association representative, countered that the bill "usurps the authority of local governments to collect an unpaid debt" and infringes on the rights of municipalities, the media outlet states. According to insideARM, Lafayette is the only city in Louisiana that currently utilizes a collection agency, however New Orleans is also considering it.