Past President of TLOT Kelly McMahan Perspective on Legislation 2021

Mar 23, 2021

Written by:
Kelly McMahan
Principal Lawyer

There are a lot of bills that create Class C Marihuana Possession offenses- these offenses could be a  great new revenue source for us, so we should at least support any of these bills.

There are two bills that create a new thing called "Highway Safety Corridors" which would have higher fines just like construction zone offenses. I think if these get created, they could easily be turned into offenses that can't be deferred like construction zone offenses. I think that would be very bad for us because it limits our options to help our clients. Who knows if these would pop up everywhere.



HB1178- decriminalizes Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. I think we should just keep an eye on this. 

There are two bills that get rid of the front license plate that I think we should keep an eye on. 



HB2309 increases the fine for Handicapped Parking, which already has a really high fine. I think this is bad.  Most people get serious sticker shock when they get one of these tickets. People don't realize that just parking there "for a minute" could end up costing them $1000's. I would support greater education to the public about how serious the offense is, but I wouldn't support raising the already high fine even more.

HB2915- discusses the role of a jury. Explicitly lays out that you can instruct a jury on nullification basically. Interesting, and we should keep an eye on this.

HB 3291- Makes Reckless driving a class c misdemeanor

HB 3478- Makes Reckless driving a class B misdemeanor AND creates a presumption that the registered owner is the driver. THAT is very bad to allow presumptions like that on a criminal offense. That could ultimately open up all traffic offenses to the same presumption and then an officer could just video a speeder and get the plate and charge the owner with a criminal offense.

HB3413- Changes some things on Occupational DL's. It disallows ODL's for just omni holds which is bad for a lot of my clients. If someone has a lot of omni holds, it is helpful to get them an ODL while we work through the courts/cases, and them having the ODL helps to get better offers. There is some good in this bill too, like I think it would make it where you no longer have to keep getting a new ODL order after 45 days, because as long as you have submitted stuff to DPS, you can't be penalized for them taking a long time to process.

HB3725- allows for criminal offense of photo enforced school bus violations. This too allows presumption that owner is driver, which is bad.

HB 4191- Omni holds would expire after 10 years. Probably not great for us, but might be helpful to some of our clients. Certainly something we should be watching.

HB3866- Allows all overweight offenses to be charged to the company, an entity. I think this is bad if it will mean drivers and companies get charged, but could mean more tickets for us, so I don't know for sure how I feel about it.

HB4073- Allows higher fines for overweight offenses even if it is a county set maximum weight, or "load-zoned" road. ***I recently had an AG opinion decided in my favor that this law would nullify. SO, it's bad for me personally. But, also, I think it's unfair to drivers who think the bridge law applies only to find out that counties can set different lower minimums, and they have to pay $1000's of dollars. 

HB4535- Deals with tandem axle and axle weight offenses-axle overweight laws wouldn't apply if the load is such that it would "naturally shift" while driving.

Posted by: Pat Monks