Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

In what could end up being a win for the Arlington County Board and a loss for the county’s business community, Gov. McAuliffe has recommended significant changes to legislation setting restrictions on the county government’s ability to regulate towing.

In a message sent to the General Assembly March 27, McAuliffe formally recommended gutting language in the bill that would prohibit Northern Virginia localities from requiring a “second signature” before vehicles could be towed from commercial properties.

(The “second signature” would be at the moment of the tow, in addition to an earlier first signature that provides blanket authorization for towing from a particular property.)

If the governor’s recommendation survives – still an open question – the result would be a victory for Arlington County Board members, who imposed the second-signature requirement on tows from commercial property late last year.

In enacting the measure last December, County Board members gave the towing industry, property owners and the county’s Trespass Towing Advisory Board until this July to work out a compromise. But the towing industry and Arlington Chamber of Commerce went to Richmond, winning General Assembly support for a bill preventing Arlington and other Northern Virginia localities from imposing second-signature rules.

The measure, patroned by Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax), passed 31-9 in the House of Delegates, 66-31 in the state Senate. Members of the Arlington legislative delegation all voted against it.

The legislature has the power to either accept or reject the governor’s recommendations. If they decline to accept the recommendations, McAuliffe could still veto the measure.

Legislators will be back in Richmond in early April to address the governor’s recommendations and vetoes.

In his four-year term, McAuliffe has wielded his veto pen on more bills than any previous Virginia governor, and so far the legislature has not overridden any of them.

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