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5/9/2009
Alabama Legislature Approves Red Light Cameras
Alabama governor to decide whether to retroactively declare illegally issued red light camera tickets legal.

Sen Dixon, Rep. GrimesThe Alabama state legislature this week sent a bill authorizing Montgomery's use of red light cameras to Governor Bob Riley (R) for his signature. The city has been using automated ticketing machines since May 2008, but the local measure authored by state Senator Larry Dixon (R-Montgomery) and state Representative David Grimes (R-Montgomery) is designed to retroactively protect the city from any lawsuit challenging the legality of the first $1 million worth of tickets already issued without authorization.

"The city, by Ordinance No. 10-2007, hereby validated ab initio, adopted the procedures authorized by this act," Senate Bill 59 declares.

With revenue from the first seven cameras safe, Montgomery officials intend to ask LaserCraft -- the British company in charge of the program -- to add dozens of additional cameras. For each $100 ticket issued, LaserCraft pockets between $18 to $23 as an incentive.

The legislation merely codifies the existing practice in Montgomery and does not explicitly authorize other cities to use photo ticketing, although jurisdictions facing large budget deficits are likely to follow Montgomery's example. A routine review of campaign finance disclosures suggests Grimes and Dixon received contributions from interests within the city of Montgomery, not from the photo ticketing or insurance industries.



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