Hawkins receives “Legislator of the Year” honor from state tow-truck association

Sen. Brad Hawkins has been honored for his efforts to help the state’s tow-truck industry.

The Towing and Recovery Association of Washington recently announced that Hawkins was selected for its 2021 Lawmaker of the Year award.

“I’m very grateful that the towing association has recognized me as their Legislator of the Year,” said Hawkins.

During the 2021 legislative session, Hawkins prime-sponsored Senate Bill 5406, a measure requested by Randy Houston, who owns Randy’s Auto Parts and Towing and provides towing services throughout the 12th District, which Hawkins represents. The bill would help tow-truck operators gain payment if called out by the Washington State Patrol or local law-enforcement agencies to clear a vehicle due to negligence.

“Tow-truck operators are small-business owners who are being called on by law-enforcement officials to do important work to help keep our roadways clear, but they sometimes get stuck absorbing all the costs if drivers or insurance companies don’t pay them,” said Hawkins.

The bill would authorize a registered tow-truck operator, dispatched by law enforcement or another state or local agency, to bring a civil action to recover unpaid charges for vehicle recovery, impound and storage from a person who was operating a motor vehicle on a public highway in an illegal or negligent manner.

SB 5406 was approved almost unanimously by the Senate and by the House Transportation Committee but did not gain a vote in time by the full House of Representatives. Hawkins is optimistic that the bill will be approved by the Legislature and become law in 2022.

“We did important work on Senate Bill 5406 this year, and I think we can get that bill across the finish line next session,” said Hawkins.

(PHOTO CAPTION: Randy’s Towing helps pull a stranded vehicle out of a river off Highway 2. Senate Bill 5406 would help tow-truck operators gain payment for keeping public roadways clear if called out by law enforcement agencies to clear a vehicle due to negligence.)