Despite a warning that Northern Virginian motorists might be unfairly penalized by the measure, the Virginia House of Delegates today narrowly approved legislation that could make it easier for the District of Columbia and Maryland to collect parking fines from Virginia drivers.
"The police in the District are required to write tickets on quota system," complained Del. Robert Thoburn (R-Fairfax), a former sponsor of a similar measure that easily passed the House last week.
But Thoburn said today he had changed his mind and decided to oppose a Senate-passed version of the bill after receiving a telephone call from a D.C. police officer who lives in Fairfax County.
Despite his warning, the House voted 45 to 42 in favor of the bill, which authorizes the governor to enter into reciprocal parking ticket collection agreements with the District and other states.
Noting the District's recent steppedup enforcement of parking violations, Thoburn said he had been told that a person with two or more unpaid parking tickets in Washington "can be put in jail."
Thoburn said he had learned "there are more Virginia commuters being put in jail than robbers." He urged the assembly not to make it any easier for D.C. police, who he said were cracking down on scofflaws as a means of raising revenue for the city.
Del. Elise Heinz (D-Arlington) one of six Northern Virginians who sponsored the measure, said the bill had been requested by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Washington area Council of Governments.
"Enforcing parking regulations is not just a source of revenue," Heinz said. "What they want to do is get the traffic moving in the streets, and that affects all of us." She said that Arlington "would come out ahead of the game" since it now has a difficult time collecting on parking tickets issued to Marylanders and District drivers.
Del. Robert E. Harris (R-Fairfax) said he opposed the bill in committee after learning that some 65,000 Northern Virginians have one or more outstanding parking tickets from the District.
In other House action, legislators easily approved a Senate bill that would allow losing candidates in state-wide election is less than one-half of one percent. Under present law, a candidate who requests a recount in a close election must pay for the recount if the final results show him to be the loser.