SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The mayor of Springfield is urging lawmakers to strengthen penalties for removing recreational vehicles from illegally operating on public roads.

Bill H.1842 is an Act relative to the use of recreation vehicles in the City of Springfield is sponsored by City Councilor Orlando Ramos, and co-sponsored by Bud Williams, Jacob Oliveira and Michael Finn, and State Senator Adam Gomez.

“Right now as it stands, the police department is required to put them out to auction once they’re confiscated which means they end up back in circulation. So, we’re trying to make sure that they don’t end up back on the streets,” Ramos told 22News.

The judiciary committee took testimony on this bill Tuesday but committee members didn’t make a vote on it. Supporters say this move alone could make Springfield a safer place to live for everybody.

The legislation would support efforts in addressing the illegal operation of recreational vehicles such as dirt bikes and ATVs on the streets of Springfield. According to the bill, the Springfield Police will hold the impounded recreation or off-highway for 90 days to verify the whether or not the vehicle is stolen. After the 90 days hold for verification, the city may petition the superior court of a proceeding in rem to order forfeiture of the recreational vehicles.

If a final order results in forfeiture, the city can use the recreational vehicle by law enforcement or other public agency, sale at public auction, or crushing/destroying it.

Penalties include a fine of not less than $250 for a first violation and not less than $500 nor more than $2,500 for a second or subsequent violation.

Petitioners include:

  • Orlando Ramos, 9th Hampden
  • Carlos González, 10th Hampden
  • Adam Gomez, Hampden
  • Jacob R. Oliveira, 7th Hampden
  • Michael J. Finn, 6th Hampden
  • Bud L. Williams, 11th Hampden

Mayor Sarno Testimony Letter in Support of HB-1842

“Again, I want to thank State Representative Orlando Ramos for filing and supporting this public safety and quality of life legislation. Due to the constraints of the law, when our brave and dedicated men and women of our Springfield Police Department seize and confiscate these illegal bikes, if the original owner doesn’t come forward – which many don’t, the bikes legally have to go into an auction where they just end up back on our streets to terrorize our neighborhoods and residents again, and the cycle keeps repeating itself. 

This pending legislation would give the City of Springfield the means and authority to truly help address this ongoing issue by petitioning the superior court to order forfeiture of these illegal recreation vehicles operating on our public roads. Once approved by the court, the city can then move forward and destroy these recreational vehicles that are seized and confiscated while illegally operating on our public streets, thus eliminating the vehicle from further terrorizing our streets, residents and businesses.”

Mayor Sarno