South Dakota Enacts Most Sweeping Photo Ticket Ban In US Beginning July 1, South Dakota license plates will be invisible to photo enforcement cameras.
Sixteen states ban the use of red light cameras and speed cameras by statute or state court rulings (view list), but none of these prohibitions are anywhere near as sweeping as a pair of bills signed into law last week by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R). Not only are South Dakotans protected from red light camera tickets within state borders, as of July 1 they will be immune to automated citations issued in most other states.
Lawmakers in Pierre overwhelmingly favored a straightforward ban on the use of red light cameras. Earlier this month, the state Senate voted 26 to 9 on the ban that had cleared the state House in February by a 69 to 1 margin.
"No state, county, municipal, or township authority may contract with any private corporation to provide for the use of any photo monitoring device to detect any red light violation," the new law, House Bill 1100, states.
South Dakota's experiment in photo ticketing ended in 2010 after a circuit court judge struck down the red light camera operation in Sioux Falls as illegal (view decision). The judge ruled that the city violated state law in creating a program that turned the misdemeanor of red light running into a civil penalty without authorization from the legislature.
Though the problem was solved, South Dakota lawmakers have been besieged with complaints from constituents hit with speed camera tickets in traps set on the freeway traveling to and from Iowa. State Representative Anne Hajek (R-Sioux Falls) came up with the idea of prohibiting collection agencies from calling South Dakota residents about camera tickets. Her bill was amended to say that a jurisdiction attempting to enforce a judgment against South Dakotans would have to provide evidence that "all due process requirements such as notice, hearing, and opportunity" have been met. Objections were raised about the constitutionality of a South Dakota law imposing requirements on another state.
Daugaard came up with a solution. His aides, calling Iowa's speed traps "abhorrent," proposed legislative language blocking other states from converting a license plate into the name and address of a South Dakota vehicle owner, cutting off the ability to ticket residents. The new law will do so by refusing to turn this information over to NLETS, the system used by photo ticketing companies, for the purposes of processing a red light camera or speed camera ticket.
"The Department of Public Safety and the Division of Motor Vehicles shall not enter into any compact to provide to another state, or governmental entity located in another state, information used to impose or collect a civil fine that results from an alleged violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera," the new law, House Bill 1122, states. "The Department of Public Safety and the Division of Motor Vehicles shall not provide information used to impose or collect a civil fine that results from a violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera through any existing interstate compact that does not specifically allow, or require, information to be shared for that explicit purpose. "
The language would block photo tickets not just in Iowa, but also any other state that uses cameras with the possible exception of Arizona and California where tickets carry license points in addition to the "civil fine" and are treated as criminal charges. The statutes will take effect on July 1.
A copy of the final version of the law is available in a 20k PDF file at the source link below.