Louisiana Lawmaker Proposes Local Votes For All Traffic Camera Programs

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
louisiana lawmaker proposes local votes for all traffic camera programs

Local governments that use red light cameras and speed cameras would be forced put the future of these efforts to a public vote under a proposal by a team of Louisiana state lawmakers. Led by Representative Jeff Arnold (D-Algiers), a bipartisan team of seven on Monday pre-filed legislation to rein in the use of automated enforcement systems.

Arnold’s preference is to ban them outright with House Bill 160, but he prepared an alternative measure designed to be more attractive to his colleagues with close ties to local government. House Bill 159 would require a referendum before any automated ticketing machine could issue fines in a local city or parish.

“You can’t argue with giving the people a right to decide,” Arnold told TheNewspaper. “I’m not making the decision, the people are. When people are given a choice on this issue — as happened in Sulphur, Louisiana — they vote over 80 percent, ‘No, we don’t want traffic cameras.'”

Arnold explained that this measure would force automated ticketing advocates to live up to their own rhetoric.

“People who support these cameras say that there’s strong public support for it,” Arnold said. “If you think you’re right and people support these, go ahead and put it up for a vote. Let’s see what it gets you…. If Lafayette votes ‘yes, we like our cameras’ then they can keep them, but if Orleans votes ‘no,’ then they’re gone.”

Last year, the House by a 56-26 margin voted down an amendment to ban photo ticketing outright. Arnold explained that lawmakers did not like the idea of adding the camera ban to an unrelated piece of legislation during an abbreviated session. This time, the House will have plenty of time to consider free-standing legislation. As one of the most senior members and chairman of the powerful Commerce committee, Arnold expects his proposals will receive a fair hearing in the committee of jurisdiction.

“I’ve talked to some members on the Transportation committee who voted against this last time who are now looking to vote for the bill,” Arnold explained. “They’re coming to the understanding that this is really a cash grab as opposed to a safety issue.”

Arnold intends to introduce two more versions of his legislation in case the ban and referendum efforts falter. One bill would ban the use of cameras on state-funded highways and roads. Another would require any tickets go before a judicial proceeding before an elected traffic judge, as opposed to an administrative hearing officer who works as an employee of the local jurisdiction.

The Louisiana State Legislature’s legislative session begins on March 29. A copy of the pre-filed House Bill 160 is available in a PDF file at the source link below.

House Bill 160 (Louisiana State Legislature, 3/8/2010)

[courtesy: thenewspaper.com]

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  • 210delray 210delray on Mar 12, 2010

    Well why is it that EVERY single "study" that The Newspaper reports always says "accidents" go up? Do we get to see the study details? No. Can we judge the scientific validity? No way. Plus the myth about shortening yellow lights has become the equivalent of the Big Lie: repeat it often enough and everyone believes it.

  • 210delray 210delray on Mar 13, 2010

    Here's what I think of the National Motorists Association (in my own prior words): The National Motorists Association operates under the guise of promoting the average motorist's best interests. It touts itself as a voice for the common man (and woman) against the arbitrary dictates of state and local government with regard to traffic laws and regulations. In reality, it is an anti-scientific organization that would like to take highway safety back to the dark ages of the 1950s when all we did was exhort drivers to behave. Didn't work then, won't work now. The NMA is against photo radar, red light cameras, most speed limits (except those set by the fabled 85th percentile), motorcycle helmet laws, seat belt use laws, and even the 0.08 drunk driving laws! Any scientifically based study that counters their beliefs is lambasted. This group may as well be run by shamans and witch doctors, and has the same philosophy as those wacko conservative groups that want to take the teaching of evolution out of our public schools.

  • Jeff S Years ago Kentucky issued a license plate with a horse running with the words "Unbridled Spirit." The religious right objected and did not want the plate because they believed it encouraged people to go to the race track and bet on horses. Anyone who knows anything about Kentucky knows its famous for raising horses and yes there is Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run but horses in themselves are not sinful. It got so bad that the state issued a blank sticker to put over the horse and the logo. Kentucky also issued a plate for those who were offended stating "In God We Trust." The latest KY plate has no logo and nothing. I always picked the horse because I thought horses were something to be proud of and associated with Kentucky.
  • Old Scold As a Marylander, I got those plates assigned to me when I purchased my car in 2016, 4 years after the so-called anniversary. I figured they were using up NOS, and it never occurred to me to check out the URL. I still don't care. It's a stupid issue, but I have my tag number memorized should I need it.
  • Hpycamper I drive a car with automatic braking and have nothing good to say about it. It has activated going around corners on mountain roads when the hillside is close to the road, when lawn sprinklers turned on and sprayed the car, and driving past cars on the shoulder that are making right turns. Luckily these phantom brake activations have not caused a wreck. The systems are just too dumb.
  • SCE to AUX How long until that $90k yields a profit for my grandchildren?
  • Ajla I do wonder what the legacy of the Alpha Camaro will be. It was higher performing than the Zeta but lacks the pop culture imprinting of that gen or the earlier F-body. And somehow it managed to be less comfortable than the Zeta. I guess it depends if this is really the last traditional Camaro.