2/9/2006Unanimous West Virginia Panel Says No to Cameras
The full West Virginia House of Delegates is considering a ban on photo enforcement after unanimous committee approval.
The House Judiciary Committee of the West Virginia legislature was unanimous yesterday in its support of a bill that would impose a total ban on red light cameras and speed cameras in the state. A more modest version of the measure, introduced by Delegate Randy Swartzmiller (D-Hancock), would have allowed cameras if an actual police officer had been present as witness to the offense. In January, the Roads and Transportation Committee rejected the approach as too soft, amending the bill to prohibit any attempt at photo enforcement in the state. The updated measure is on its second reading today before the full House and, if approved, would be sent to the Senate for consideration.
The decisive House action was meant to send a message of disapproval to neighboring Steubenville, Ohio which has generated complaints among West Virginia residents mailed $85 tickets weeks after they have passed through the area.
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR H. B. 4004
( By Delegates Swartzmiller, Ennis, Beach, Kominar, R.M. Thompson, Talbott and Boggs )
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[February 2, 2006]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §17C-6-7a, relating to prohibiting the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device by police officers to detect traffic law violations; defining "traffic law photo-monitoring device "; providing that evidence obtained by the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device may not be used to prove a violation of a traffic law; and providing that this section does not prohibit the use of microwave devices to prove violations of a traffic law.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §17C-6-7a , to read as follows:
§17C-6-7a. Prohibition of the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices to detect or prove traffic law violations.
(a) As used in this section "traffic law photo-monitoring device" means an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a means of sensing the presence of a motor vehicle that automatically produces photographs, videotape, or digital images of the vehicle, its operator, or its license plate.
(b) No police officer may utilize a traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine compliance with, or to detect a violation of, a municipal or county ordinance or any provision of this code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles.
(c) A violation of a municipal or county ordinance or any provision of this code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles may not be proved by evidence obtained by the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device.
(d) The provisions of this section do not prohibit the use of any device designed to measure and indicate the speed of a moving object by means of microwaves to obtain evidence to prove the speed of a motor vehicle pursuant to section seven of this article.