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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ind. Law - "Lights out for red-light cameras?"

Updating this long list of ILB entries on "red-light cameras", Dan Carden reports today in the NWI Times in a story that begins:

INDIANAPOLIS | The nation's leading red-light camera enforcement company is giving up on expanding to Indiana.

Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., an Arizona-based corporation that operates in 21 states, including Illinois, has canceled its registration to lobby the Indiana General Assembly.

"There's really not much action going on in Indiana right now. That's pretty much the bottom line," said Timothy Johnson, Redflex's legislative affairs administrator.

Between February 2009 and April, Redflex spent $54,241.42 on contracts to lobby state lawmakers, but the company never came close to winning the required legislative approval to permit Indiana cities and towns to use red-light cameras.

In August 2008, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said in an official opinion that red-light violations are infractions of state law, not local ordinances. The General Assembly would need to explicitly give local governments authorization to regulate moving violations for red-light cameras to be legal, Carter said.

That ruling struck down a Hammond ordinance allowing red-light cameras to be used to issue red-light tickets, similar to parking tickets, rather than moving violations. The fine was set at $100.

Following Carter's opinion, officials in Hammond, Gary, Lafayette and West Lafayette urged state legislators to change the law to allow red-light camera enforcement. State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, and state Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, each separately sponsored similar authorizing legislation in the House and Senate.

Redflex, which stood to benefit if Indiana cities were allowed to contract out their red-light camera programs, registered to lobby the General Assembly on Jan. 23, 2009, days after the start of the legislative session.

While Rogers was able to win narrow approval of her red-light camera legislation in the Republican-controlled Senate, 28-22, VanDenburgh's proposal never made it out of committee in the Democratic-controlled House. Rogers' measure also stalled in committee once it reached the House.

Supporters of the proposals said red-light cameras enhance road safety. But critics claimed cities would use the cameras as a tool to boost revenue.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 1, 2010 01:19 PM
Posted to Indiana Law