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Pennsylvania

Law prevents fees for accident investigations

| Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell will sign legislation that will prevent municipalities from charging fees for police investigations of motor vehicle accidents, his spokesman said Thursday.

"He will sign it," said Chuck Ardo, the governor's press secretary.

Those fees levied by some municipalities are charged to people or insurance companies.

Pennsylvania would be the second state in the nation to pass such legislation, said Angela Zaydon, regional manager and counsel for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

With 2,600 municipalities in Pennsylvania, it is difficult to track how many local governments are levying a fee. One of the better known instances is Radnor, in the Philadelphia suburbs. The township voted to levy the fee in 2006 against nonresidents involved in auto accidents, but repealed the ordinance after an outcry.

A Florida municipality charges residents and nonresidents but bills insurers.

"Pennsylvania is demonstrating leadership by advancing this legislation," Zaydon said. "At its most basic level, these proposals amount to a form of double taxation because emergency response services are already paid for through property and other local taxes. "

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Tom Yewcic, a Cambria County Democrat.

The House this week agreed 189-3 to a version of the bill approved by the Senate.

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