5/14/2007Oklahoma: Sneaky Provision Guts Speed Trap Law
A midnight legislative provision has gutted the anti-speed trap law in Oklahoma.
An Oklahoma legislator snuck a provision into a bill that, as of May 1, has rendered the state's anti-speed trap law meaningless. State Representative Paul D. Roan (D-Tishomingo) crafted HB 1616 as a bill making various technical corrections to existing law governing the state police. Only one legislator opposed the bill which Governor Brad Henry (D) signed into law on April 30.
The lone legislator realized Roan's true purpose. Towns like Moffett in Roan's district were going bankrupt because the state police enforced the anti-speed trap statute and ordered the town not to issue speeding tickets on highways. Up to that point, Moffett had generated 84 percent of its income from traffic citations.
Roan's new law deletes state highways from the definition of a speed trap and makes investigations into violations a discretionary, instead of mandatory, matter. Some of the legislators fooled by Roan's maneuver are angry and vow to reverse the change.
"When I found out about it, I was sick. I still am." State Representative Glen "Bud" Smithson (D-Sallisaw) told the Sequoyah County Times. "Most definitely we're going to bring it back next session.... Public safety should not be a revenue raiser."
The full text of HB1616 is available in an 83k PDF file here.