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1/6/2007
Ohio Governor Vetoes Camera Ban
The Governor of Ohio vetoes a measure that would have limited the use of photo enforcement in the state.

Governor Bob Taft
Outgoing Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R) on Friday vetoed a measure that would have effectively banned speed cameras and restricted the use of red light cameras. For weeks, Taft had been besieged by local jurisdictions urging the veto -- including Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Springfield and Toledo. Each was desperate to save programs that had brought in millions in revenue.

"I can discern no strong public policy that warrants this sweeping preemption of local control over our local street," Taft wrote in his veto message.

The cities that lobbied for the veto may come to regret it as the bill did authorize, for the first time, photo enforcement in the state. Successful legal challenges in Girard and Steubenville were built upon the unauthorized status of the devices. Similar cases were also successful in the Minnesota Court of Appeals and recently in Iowa. Because a federal judge asked the state Supreme Court to rule on the question in the Girard case, a decision consistent with the four separate rulings mentioned would permanently end the use of photo enforcement in Ohio.

Article Excerpt:
Governor's Veto Message

Pursuant to Article II, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution, which states that the Governor may disapprove any bill, I hereby disapprove of this act and set forth below the reasons for so doing.

Local governments and their law enforcement agencies have the best knowledge of their streets, including the location of their most dangerous intersections. Along with this knowledge, they must have the ability and flexibility to enforce traffic laws for the safety of all Ohio citizens. Substitute House Bill 56 unjustifiably eliminates the discretion of our locally elected and locally accountable officials in favor of a one-size-fits-all method with essentially unenforceable penalties. I am especially concerned that the requirement for a permanently fixed structure to mount cameras in school zones may make it impractical for municipalities to act to protect the safety of school children. I can discern no strong public policy that warrants this sweeping preemption of local control over our local streets. For these reasons, I am vetoing Substitute House Bill 56.


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