ATLANTA — A measure that would ban car booting in Georgia moved one step closer to possibly becoming law this week. As lawmakers deliberate, one man is setting drivers free with his own key.
"I got booted one too many times and I thought 'there has to be something you can do about this,'" Christian Verrette said.
So he took matters into his own hands and purchased his own keys to unlock boots.
"I feel there's something wrong with the way they're going about it," he said about booters.
Cities like Atlanta have ordinances permitting property owners to boot as long as there's clear signage and you have a booting permit.
To free one's car, a person has to pay a fee.
"$75 is a lot of money to a lot of people and they might not have that right then and there," Verrette said.
He helps trapped drivers for free. He also sells duplicated keys -- and it's legal.
However, Attorney Tom Salata doesn't recommend people follow Verrette's lead for safety reasons.
A bill working through the state Capitol may eliminate the need for any of that – by making booting illegal in Georgia.
"It has become an unregulated, predatory practice, overused and abused and I think it's time for a statewide ban," Sen. Josh McLaurin said.
McLaurin authored HB 119 and says there are more effective ways to deter parking violations – by ticketing or towing.
"If you're not within city limits like if you're in unincorporated DeKalb County for example, you could be paying $500 for a boot," he explained.
That's why he's hoping Georgia considers banning booting.
So far, the bipartisan bill passed the Senate Public Safety Committee. It is now in the hands of the Senate Rules Committee.