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Missouri Lawmakers Consider Banning Traffic, License Plate Cameras
State legislators look to ban red light cameras, speed cameras, and license plate readers in Missouri.

Eric Burlison
A pair of Missouri lawmakers want to keep automated cameras from watching motorists in the Show Me State. A bill introduced by state Representative Eric Burlison (R-Springfield) would ban photo enforcement, while state Senator Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph)'s proposes to outlaw automated license plate readers (ALPR, known as ANPR in Europe).

The use of ticketing and spy cameras remains highly controversial. American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the for-profit Arizona company that operates most of the red light cameras in the state, recently agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over the firm's illegal operation of cameras. The Missouri General Assembly never gave municipalities permission to use either red light cameras or speed cameras.

Burlison's proposal would prohibit any other state from mailing a photo ticket to a Missouri resident, a concept borrowed from the South Dakota law enacted last year specifically to protect South Dakotans from the predatory photo radar vans stationed on the interstate highway running through Sioux City, Iowa.

Since the legislature of one state cannot pass a law that binds another, the South Dakota law and Missouri proposal each make it impossible for companies like ATS to access the license plate records needed to mail a citation.

"The department [of revenue] shall not enter into any voluntary agreement with another state, or governmental entity located in another state, to provide information used to impose or collect a civil fine that results from an alleged violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera," House Bill No. 421 states. "The department [of revenue] shall not provide information used to impose or collect a civil fine that results from a violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera through any existing interstate compact that does not specifically allow or require information to be shared for that explicit purpose

Schaaf's proposal goes after the cameras used to photograph passing vehicles for the purpose of storing the time, place and location of vehicle owners so that a massive database can store the travel patterns of every driver. These devices have spread throughout the nation with little public notice or oversight. The proposal would constitute one of the nation's toughest bans.

"No government entity shall install or utilize an automated license plate reader system or an automated traffic enforcement system to enforce red-light or speed limit violations or collect captured motor vehicle data," Senate Bill No. 196 states.

The proposal gives local governments thirty days to dispose of existing data collected on drivers through license plate readers. It would allow existing information to be shared with federal agencies only pursuant to a warrant and with "specific and articulable facts" presented to a judge certifying that the vehicle data is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

A copy of both proposals is available in a 180k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File House Bill 421 and Senate Bill 196 (Missouri General Assembly, 1/14/2015)

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