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12/19/2009
Missouri: Legislators to Consider Banning Mileage Tolls, Traffic Cameras
Two Missouri bills would limit red light cameras, one would ban per-mile GPS taxation.

Missouri state Senator Jim Lembke
Missouri state lawmakers gearing up for next year's legislative session will consider a number of bills limiting government's ability to track, tax and ticket motorists. State Representative Joe Smith (R-St. Charles), for example, prefiled legislation earlier this month that would ban the state from imposing a per-mile driving tax that many state and federal officials have turned toward during the current budget crisis.

"No global positioning system or other technology that identifies and records a person's location at all times shall be used to monitor mileage traveled by any motor vehicle on any road, highway, or street in this state for the purpose of imposing any tax on the mileage traveled by such motor vehicle," House Bill 1265 states in its entirety.

As chairman of the Tax Reform Committee in the Missouri House of Representatives, Smith wants to see the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) cease exploring ways to implement the tax that the agency believes is inevitable. A second Smith-sponsored measure, House Bill 1223, would prohibit police from issuing expensive "work zone" speeding tickets in zones where no work is actually being done.

Two other lawmakers intend to put a stop to the unauthorized use of red light cameras in the state. State Senator Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis) has re-introduced his bill that would kick the well-connected automated ticketing firms out of the state.

"No county, city, town, village, municipality, state agency, or other political subdivision of this state that is authorized to issue a notice of violation for a violation of a state or local traffic law or regulation, shall use or employ an automated photo red light enforcement system at any intersection within its jurisdiction," Senate Bill 637 states.

Lembke's previous attempt to enact a ban earned the support of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association but not a majority of his colleagues. State Representative Will Kraus (R-Kansas City) prefiled a more modest approach. His bill, House Bill 1229, would authorize the use of automated ticketing machines but eliminate the incentive for cities to implement such programs to generate revenue.

"In jurisdictions utilizing automated photo red light enforcement systems, any fine collected for a red light violation shall go to the local school district where the infraction occurred and shall not be distributed through the school funding mechanisms of section 163.031," Kraus' bill states.

When a similar requirement was imposed on municipalities in North Carolina, several cities quickly dropped red light camera enforcement.



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