2/27/2018Legislative Update: Speed Cameras In Indiana, Iowa And Virginia
Prospects for speed cameras advance in Indiana, retreat in Virginia and remain up in the air for Iowa.
Lobbyists for speed camera companies like American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia have been making a major push to expand their marketplace in the United States. While this effort has advanced in Indiana, it has hit a roadblock in Virginia and faces a potential rollback in Iowa.
Earlier this month the Virginia state Senate gave the green light to measures that would allow speed cameras in freeway work zones and roads in the vicinity of schools (view bill). The Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Carrico (R-Galax) pushed both bills through the process after taking campaign donations from ATS. His effort to expand photo enforcement throughout the state failed last week as the House of Delegates took up the issue.
On Thursday, a House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee refused to advance the freeway speed camera measure with a 4 to 2 vote. The same panel unanimously shelved the school photo radar authorization scheme. With the General Assembly scheduled to adjourn for the year on March 10, both measures are unlikely to be brought back until next year.
The Indiana House Roads and Transportation Committee on Thursday adopted a measure meant to eventually bring speed cameras to Hoosier highways. Representatives Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), Edmond Soliday (R-Valparaiso), Charles Moseley (D–Portage) and Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) introduced House Resolution 8, which urges the legislative council to take up the issue of work zone speed cameras and banning cell phone use while driving.
The sixteen members of the legislative council are responsible for setting the agenda for upcoming sessions. The group influences policy by organizing study committees to work through the assigned topics so that bills can be presented in to the General Assembly, as needed. In the past, ATS has made campaign contributions to both the Republican and Democratic Party state committees in Indiana.
In Iowa, the state Senate on Wednesday put a hold on a bill that would prohibit the speed cameras already in use throughout the state. The delay was meant to allow state Senator Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) to come up with an amendment to gut Senate File 2148 on behalf of the cities using cameras. While the measure is presented as "regulating" rather than banning cameras, the text actually allows cities like Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Muscatine to completely evade regulation with a grandfather clause.
"A local authority may continue to operate such a system in the same manner as the system was operated prior to January 1, 2017," Bisignano's amendment states.
If passed, the amendment would end the ongoing legal battle between the camera cities and the state Department of Transportation.