• Carson Now on Facebook
  • Follow Carson Now on Twitter
  • Follow Carson Now by RSS
  • Follow Carson Now by Email

Tow Truck Bill Focus Of “Huge Lobbying Effort”

By Andrew Doughman
CARSON CITY – It has been called the most lobbied bill during the legislative session, and it is has nothing to do with taxes.
All the fuss is about changes to the tow truck and auto salvage industry.

In one corner are a wealthy business owner who often contributes to political campaigns, a former Speaker of the Assembly whose clients include  a now-indicted poker company, the auto insurance industry and the AFL-CIO.
In the other corner are tow truck companies, salvage yards, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and a group called the Nevada Tow Car Council.
Somewhere in the middle are two groups: citizen members of the Nevada Assembly, some of whom professed to know little of about the auto industry during a hearing yesterday, and average Nevadans who pay auto insurance and may someday have a vehicle towed.
At stake are potentially lucrative, monopolistic deals for business groups.
Senate Bill 407 would change how tow companies treat vehicles that end up in accidents in Clark County. Tow companies currently take those vehicles to their lots, where people can find their vehicles later.
A proposed amendment to the bill would allow insurance companies to contract with an independent storage lot. If you got in a wreck, your vehicle would go to the insurance company’s lot, where you could retrieve it later.
“I don’t know where all the money is coming from on that bill, but there is a huge lobbying effort on that,” said Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who heard the bill in a Senate Transportation Committee last month. “There were so many good people on both sides of it that both made good points.”
Dueling Lobbyists Argue Bill Could Create Or Destroy Monopoly
The main proponent of the bill is Bobby Ellis, a businessman who often contributes to political campaigns and owns SNAP towing.
Richard Perkins, a former Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, is lobbying the bill on behalf of Ellis.
He said that just two tow companies get all the business for vehicles involved in accidents. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police authorize Ewing Brothers and Quality Towing to tow cars from accident scenes.
“A monopoly is what they have now,” he said, noting complaints of price gouging and abuse.
Those two companies can charge fees ratified by the Nevada Transportation Authority.
The bill would allow insurance companies to contract with companies offering lower fees, Perkins said.
“This really opens it up for people instead of protecting the current monopoly,” he said. “You shouldn’t be a victim of an accident and of a tow company. … If they weren’t raping the public we wouldn’t be here in the first place.”
Opponents to the bill note that Ellis is a consultant for Insurance Auto Auctions, which bought his salvage yard several years ago. They say this gives him an in with insurance companies and a reason to contract with Ellis.
Towing company representatives like Paul Enos say that the bill will create a monopoly for Ellis.
Ellis contended that this is not true.
“A lot of people say this is a special interest bill, but I may not even get a contract out of it,” he said.
Opponents to the bill said it has little to do with auto insurance consumers and people who get in accidents. They say that the bill ultimately benefits Ellis and the insurance industry.
“They will absorb the savings, it will never get to the consumer,” said Jason Kent of Quality Towing. “This bill would make us give up the most profitable part of our business.”
Most tow truck companies earn a hefty chunk of their revenue from storing vehicles, said Dennis Milk of Tow Guys towing company.
Some vehicles then move along to salvage yards or auto auction companies, two of which testified against the bill.
Sam McMullen, a lobbyist representing Copart Auto Auctions told a legislative committee “that kind of relationship” between Ellis and Insurance Auto Auctions gave his client concern about the bill.
Michael Geeser, lobbyist for AAA, said that cost savings may not necessarily pass along to consumers.
“At least it gives us one more choice and a chance to perhaps bring prices down,” he told a legislative committee.
AFL-CIO representative Danny Thompson said the bill would help average Nevadans.
Representatives from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said they did not want to become “agents” for insurance companies in directing vehicles to the storage lots insurance companies designate.
Both proponents and opponents agreed on a portion of the bill that mandates the Nevada Transportation Authority to develop a standard set of fees for the tow truck and storage lot industry, which should help Nevadans.
Choice Of Committee Stirs Controversy
Further complicating the matter is the committee to which the bill was sent.
Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D- North Las Vegas, is the chairman of the Commerce and Labor committee that heard the bill yesteraday.
Opponents of the bill noted Atkinson is also the recipient of a trip to London paid for by Perkins on behalf of his client, Pokerstars, a company which is now under federal investigation.
Perkins called those implications a “cheap shot” and a “smear campaign.”
Opponents of the bill pointed at the thousands of dollars Ellis contributed to members of the Commerce and Labor committee.
But groups such as the Nevada Motor Transport Association, which represents tow truck companies and others, also made donations to members of that committee.
If anything, the allegations proved there is money in the fight, and there are a gaggle of lobbyists on both sides who will hope to turn the ear of a member of Nevada’s Assembly before the bill returns for a vote.
The committee has yet to take action on the bill.
 
 
 
 


Sponsor Showcase


On your “Must Not Miss” list, is the popular Downtown Wine Walk – held the First Saturday of every month from 1- 5pm. For just $10 (which supports the Downtown Business Association you’ll receive a commemorative wine glass and endless reasons to sip, stroll, and shop, the afternoon away, through Historic Downtown Carson City. Bring your wine walk glass with the Carson City Logo on it and pay only $8. Don't forget the after Wine Walk raffle prize party, 5:00pm, at the Cabaret Lounge, Carson Nugget Casino!

Tickets can be purchased at Bella Fiora Wines, Cactus Jack’s, Carson Jewelry & Loan, Carson Nugget, and Horseshoe Club, where you will receive hand stamps, glasses, and maps.

Sponsored by the Carson City Downtown Business Association, our goal is to carry on a local tradition, hosting an event which showcases a monthly Downtown celebration. It’s a Saturday stroll with a glass of wine through historic downtown Carson City where boutiques, local shops, galleries, restaurants and casinos, pull out all the stops to awaken your taste buds and tantalize your senses... experience a Downtown taste sensation!.

Day R. Williams scored top of his law school class in Evidence and Constitutional Law, and he wrote for the Law Review. He is known as a fine legal writer. Day has practiced solo for more than 20 years in Carson City. He has handled contract disputes, personal injuries, bad faith by insurance companies, probate, estates and trusts, appeals, and a murder case. Day has tried cases and appeared in court in Carson City, Reno, Minden, Yerington, Ely, Fallon, Pahrump, and Las Vegas, and he has argued before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a driving force in the first citizen-initiated grand jury in Nevada’s history.

http://carsontrialattorney.com/

Carson’s full-service casino featuring:

  • Over 590 Slots – Certified Loose!
  • Single-deck Blackjack, 3-card Poker, Craps, Roulette
  • Poker Room
  • Keno
  • Two restaurants
  • Weekly live entertainment
  • 80 recently remodeled hotel rooms
  • Complete banquet facilities

Change the way you do business. Dominate the competition. Create a professional, lasting impression with a Sign Pro sign.

Every Sign Pro sign is custom-made to your specifications. Indoor or outdoor. Short-term or long-term.

Sign Pro staff will work with you to select the most appropriate vinyl's and materials to serve your needs. Each product we use has been chosen for its quality, durability and economy.

Signs create the first impression of your business. Our professional staff can brighten and outdated image, replace a worn sign or create a whole new look. Your product knowledge combined with our attention to detail will create the winning formula for visual success.

Sign Pro's state-of-the art equipment offers hundreds of type styles and design choices. We can use your artwork of create dynamic images from scratch. We can enhance your ideas with borders, shadows, special effects and distortions.

Sign Pro will translate your multi-colored world into two or three dimensional reality.

  • Window and Wall Graphics
  • Exhibits
  • Decals
  • Banners
  • Vehicle Identification
  • Magnetic's
  • Full-color Imagery
  • American with Disabilities Act Signs
  • Wood/Plastics/Metal

Add distinction to your business exterior by using creative graphics that invite your customers to step inside. Tell your customers about your products before they walk through the door.

Sign Pro is first in dependability, first in quality, first in customer service. At Sign Pro we want to be your sign company. Let us open the door leading to future success for your business, your products and you!

Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
1501 North Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89403

Top Stories

... or see all stories

As July closes so does Nevada Department of Wildlife's month-long BEAR Logic campaign, designed to teach residents and visitors how to live and recreate in bear county. This week NDOW advice provides tips if people should have a bear encounter.

Keep in mind that bears exhibit stress behaviors that indicate their anxiety and preference to avoid conflict with you. These are not necessarily signs of an aggressive bear.

— Moaning and woofing while avoiding direct eye contact with you.
— Clacking of their teeth and smacking of their jaws.

A few months ago, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell was out of the state when he received a message from his city hall office that a secretary from the Navy wanted to arrange a meeting with him.

Crowell, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War, suspected the meeting might be about recruiting. He was delightfully wrong.

This year, the United States celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to these shores. The "Jazz & Beyond: Carson City Music Festival" is excited to provide two exciting Beatles events in honor of that occasion.

The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health launched two new Nevada-specific websites Tuesday to help schools protect students from sexual assaults on college campuses.

The websites, www.preventsexualviolenceNV.org and www.stepupstopviolence.org, define sexual assault and consent and offer approaches for individuals, students, and community members to safely intervene when observing a potentially high-risk situation.

Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada, Northern California and the Sierra. This report is for the week of June 30 through Aug. 5, 2014.

The Salvation Army of Carson City is collecting Back Packs and School Supplies for underprivileged children through August 13th. The Salvation Army has been getting calls from families in need for several weeks asking for help. Children from Carson City School District, Silver State Charter School, and Douglas County School District will receive all back packs and school supplies that are collected.

Similar to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree program the Army has started an Apple Tree program with “Apples” that have a child’s wishes on it to help donors shop.

Carson City's biggest public safety awareness event of the summer is next week and organizers are looking for some added help to make this year's event fly out of the park.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office will host National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mills Park.

Carson City Ward 2 Supervisor Brad Bonkowski will hold his monthly “Breakfast with Brad” on Friday, August 1, 7:30 a.m. at the Cracker Box restaurant. All Carson City residents are invited to attend.

“There are many issues right now that are provoking strong opinions from residents” Bonkowski said. He added “I’m hearing from lots of people regarding the MAC, the animal shelter, the potential corridor improvements and of course medical marijuana. It’s important that I get input from residents, and also to explain how the process will work.”

The following arrests were made by Carson City Sheriff's Office deputies from July 26 to the morning hours of July 29, 2014. Those arrested and facing charges are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

— A 43-year-old Carson City man was arrested Tuesday, July 29, 12:36 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Lompa Lane on a misdemeanor warrant charge of petit larceny. Bail: $1,000.

Douglas County is hosting the Western Nevada College “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” arts and humanities exhibition as part of a special Nevada Sesquicentennial tour sponsored by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

David H. Garza had vehicle expenses disallowed because he did not keep adequate records and evidence as Section 274(d) and the related regulations require.

He did not record the amount, time and business purpose of each business use of his truck. He worked as an outside sales representative for Time Warner Cable.

He claimed the vehicle expenses as employee business expenses on form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Time Warner Cable policy did not provide him with any reimbursement of his business driving.

A railroad mystery, Nevada history, a dog and a ghost are the central figures in a new book by author Jan Pierson, set to visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10. The author will sign copies of her book “Ghost Girl in Car No. 9,” the fifth in her series “The Ghostowners,” in the museum store.

This week’s It’s Your City features Cortney Bloomer who announces a new weekly TV program, Carson TV News, to premier Monday, Aug. 4 on Charter Cable Channel 193, at 4:30 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Carson TV News at www.facebook.com/carsontvnews for updates, information and to learn more about the program. You can also submit photos and video to CarsonTVnews@gmail.com.

When you live in the stream of life, instead of fighting the current, you find a sense of peace. This is what I realized after a deer ran into my passenger side headlight this weekend on the way back from a little getaway.

What began as a battery investigation where a convenience store clerk was hit with a banana, ended with the arrest of a man after he crashed his vehicle into a natural gas line forcing the evacuation of a casino early Sunday morning, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said.

Osvaldo Ruiz was arrested at 1:41 a.m. in the 2100 block of East Long Street after a vehicle and foot chase. He faces felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving willful conduct and eluding with endangerment as well as misdemeanor charges of DUI, obstructing and hit and run.

The Dayton Valley Days Committee invites crafters, vendors and anyone who wants to reach a large number of people to reserve booth space for the 26th annual street festival held in the heart of historic Old Town Dayton.
Dayton Valley Days is scheduled Sept. 20 and 21 with an expected attendance over 15,000.

CARSON CITY — Messy executions in Arizona and Ohio that made national headlines could buoy efforts by death penalty opponents to stave off capital punishment for some 80 Nevada inmates awaiting execution.

The cases could be used to pile on to the ever-growing number of legal challenges to capital punishment in the Silver State, adding the argument that the use of lethal injection should be considered a cruel and unusual form of punishment, said Clark County Deputy Public Defender Scott Coffee.

In the last three weeks we have had two pedestrians struck by vehicles while in crosswalks. For many this may not seem like a large number but even two is too many.

With the increase in traffic during the summer months and along with it a large amount of pedestrians out and about; we must all do our part to ensure the safety of those crossing the roadways.

CARSON CITY %u2014 Mention the Equal Rights Amendment today and it might bring back memories of the 1970s, from huge protest marches to "ERA Yes" buttons.

But the proposed constitutional amendment, which fell three states short of the 38 needed to win ratification by a 1979 deadline that Congress later extended to 1982, is not a relic in Nevada.

Scammers are at it again; most recently I received a letter from a citizen who was informed that they had won the “Inter-American Lotto Powerball” held in Hawaii. Having never been to Hawaii, the individual was pretty certain they did not win.

A check had been included with the letter which the recipient was asked to deposit and return a portion of the funds received. This was to pay for non- resident fees and administrative costs. A little research on the internet and it was obvious that the letter was a scam.