1/27/2007Georgia Legislators Fight Photo Enforcement
Legislation before the Georgia General Assembly would outlaw red light and speed cameras.
Powerful legislators in the Georgia General Assembly are lining up behind an effort to repeal the state's photo enforcement law. State Representative Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta), the chairman of the House Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee, was joined by a number of influential colleagues in promoting legislation he introduced to expel camera ticketing from the state.
"In the case of red light cameras, the only proof the government can present is that a vehicle registered in your name was being driven through a red light," explained Deputy Whip Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), a co-sponsor of the legislation. "There is no evidence that you were the driver and the government cannot present any evidence that you, the individual, violated any law."
The legislation, House Bill 77, would simply delete all reference to red light cameras from the Georgia Code.
In an article explaining his support for the bill, Loudermilk wrote that it does not matter that red light cameras increase accidents or line the pockets of municipalities and private vendors. He supports the legislation for one reason.
"The operation of these cameras violates the right to due process," Loudermilk wrote. "A right that our forefathers believed was so important that it was protected in our Constitution.... I have sworn to uphold the Constitution and that is where I will make my stand."
Other co-sponsors of the measure include Judiciary Committee Vice Chairman Robert Mumford (R-Conyers), Martin Scott (R-Rossville), John Lunsford (R-McDonough), and Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock).
Article Excerpt:House Bill 77
By: Representatives Franklin of the 43rd, Scott of the 2nd, Loudermilk of the 14th, Lunsford of the 110th, Mumford of the 95th, and others
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles, so as to repeal provisions relating to traffic-control signal monitoring devices; to correct cross-references; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles, is amended by repealing Article 3 of Chapter 14, relating to traffic-control signal monitoring devices.
Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 40-6-20, relating to enforcement by traffic-control signal monitoring devices, as follows:
(a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of an official traffic-control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter. A violation of this subsection shall be a misdemeanor.
(b) No provisions of this chapter which require official traffic-control devices shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device was not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular Code section does not state that official traffic-control devices are required, such Code section shall be effective even though no devices are erected or in place.
(c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
(d) Any official traffic-control device placed pursuant to this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
(e) The disregard or disobedience of the instructions of any official traffic-control device or signal placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter by the driver of a vehicle shall be deemed prima-facie evidence of a violation of law, without requiring proof of who and by what authority such sign or device has been erected. [The remaining portions of the existing chapter are repealed.]
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.