8/31/2010California Legislature to Authorize Photo Parking Tickets
California legislature approves parking ticket cameras while cracking down on municipalities issuing administrative traffic tickets.
The California state Senate last week gave preliminary approval to legislation giving local governments the green light to install automated ticketing machines on street sweepers to generate parking tickets. The measure, introduced by state Assemblyman Steven C. Bradford (D-Gardena), passed in the lower chamber in April by a 49 to 24 vote. It would go to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) upon a final vote by the Senate and an Assembly vote to approving the upper chamber's amendments. On Friday, the full legislature sent a related measure cracking down on municipalities that have been using an unauthorized civil fine system to bypass state traffic laws for speeding and red light camera tickets.
"Streetsweepers operating throughout our nation and the world remove from streets and roads unnecessary pollutants, contaminants, chemicals, trash, and debris, which provides significant environmental and sanitation benefits, thereby protecting the environment and contributing to the health of people in communities worldwide," Assembly Bill 2567 states. "It is also the intent of the legislature that this article shall provide a single statewide standard for the use of camera enforcement technology on streetsweepers to help ensure continuity in program implementation and enforcement by local public agencies that desire to implement camera enforcement systems."
Under the program, a private company would install and maintain the cameras set up on streetsweepers to prey on the owners of vehicles who may be confused by unclear signage or otherwise unaware of the sweeping restrictions. The private company would mail tickets to owners two weeks after the photographs are taken. A similar program failed in Chicago, Illinois after officials realized that the camera photographs needed to capture images of the vehicle and the parking restriction signs together for the ticket to hold up in court. For the California program, the for-profit vendor will have the final say when a motorist contests a ticket.
"If the person is dissatisfied with the results of the initial review, he or she may request an administrative hearing with the citation processing agency (which may be the same as the issuing agency or may be a public or private contractor) within 21 days following the mailing of the results of the initial review," the official legislative analysis of the bill explained.
The League of California Cities and other municipal interest groups lobbied heavily in favor of the legislation, and only the American Civil Liberties weighed in against it. Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar photo parking ticket bill.
Meanwhile on Friday, the state Senate voted 33 to 0 to give final approval to legislation cracking down on local jurisdictions that issue red light camera and speeding tickets using an administrative process to avoid sharing the revenue collected with the state. A number of jurisdictions including Alameda County, Long Beach, Oakland, Riverbank and Roseville turned to so-called administrative citations to boost the total amount of revenue collected from each citation (view summary and text of legislation).
A copy of the photo parking ticket bill is available in a 170k PDF file at the source link below.