H.B. 625 was filed today in the Texas House of Representatives. This bill proposes to extend the filing deadline on tow hearings from the current 14-day deadline to 60 days. This would extend the current tow hearing filing deadline by over four times its current duration. While no commentary is provided to this bill, it appears to be a pro-consumer reform bill designed to alleviate the current short deadline within which a tow hearing may be requested.
This would be the largest expansion the tow hearing filing deadline since tow hearings were first enacted. The current duration, which extended the filing deadline from 6 days to 14 days, effectively more than doubled the timeframe within which tow hearings could be requested. Additionally, while this bill extends the tow hearing filing deadline, it does nothing to address the defective “this chapter” and poorly drafted “counting days” language in Tex. Occ. Code § 2308.456(a):
“Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (c-1), a person entitled to a hearing held under this chapter must deliver a written request for the hearing to the court before the 14th day after the date the vehicle was removed and placed in the vehicle storage facility or booted, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.”Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 2308.456(a) (Westlaw 2019).
The bolded language listed above demonstrates two continuing errors that are not fixed by this proposed bill. First, this language, which is not corrected in the bill, continues to refer to tow hearings as “under this chapter” rather than specifically referencing the appropriate subchapter. Second, this language continues cause confusion in counting by stating that weekends and holidays are excluded from the “counting days” in a tow hearing. It seems odd that the drafters of this bill would be more concerned with extending the filing deadline in tow hearings than fixing the underlying problems that have plagued consumers and businesses alike in these proceedings.
If you would like to read the full text of the the bill, click —> H.B. 625