2/4/2015Arizona Legislature Considers Banning Photo Radar
Arizona state Senate committee votes overwhelmingly to advance bill outlawing photo enforcement.
Arizona is home to the nation's two largest photo ticketing companies. American Traffic Solutions (ATS), which calls Tempe home, and Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia, which bases its US operations in Phoenix, would suffer a humiliating blow if the state outlawed their business. After a 5 to 1 vote in the state Senate's public safety committee on Wednesday, the firms may need to prepare for the possibility.
State Senator Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) introduced the bill that would outlaw the use of red light cameras and speed cameras, repealing all authority under the state code for localities to outsource ticketing operations to private companies like ATS and Redflex.
"A local authority or an agency of this state may not use a photo enforcement system to identify violators of article 3 or 6 of this chapter or of a city or town ordinance for excessive speed or failure to obey a traffic control device," Senate Bill 1167 states.
While the police chiefs and other officials that answer to mayors and city councils attended Wednesday's committee hearing to oppose the measure, independently elected law enforcement expressed their approval.
"In 2008 I promised Pinal County voters if elected as their sheriff, the first thing I would do was end photo-enforcement in our county," Sheriff Paul R. Babeu wrote in a letter to Ward. "I followed through with this promise and the first day I took office, I ended the Pinal County Sheriff's Office contract with the private photo-enforcement vendor. Photo radar tries to replace deputies and police officers. You cannot replace a deputy or police officer with machines or cameras."
Anti-photo radar activists are optimistic that the bill will clear the next hurdle, a vote on the Senate floor. Insiders cite a number of developments since the last time the legislature considered a statewide ban. In Sierra Vista, 72 percent of voters cast their ballot to outlaw speed cameras. The recent guilty plea in the ongoing Redflex federal corruption case in Chicago, Illinois is also raising ethical questions.
"With so many of the red light camera industry executives facing trial for fraud, we hope to speed things up by sending them back to Australia," Shawn Dow, Campaign for Liberty's Arizona state director, told TheNewspaper. "It's looking good getting the bill out of the legislature, and then it will be up to the governor to decide whether he'll do the will of the people or listen to his tempter, Kirk Adams."
Adams became chief of staff to newly elected Governor Doug Ducey (R) after having served as speaker of the state House from 2009 to 2011. He used his powerful position to block any legislation on the House side that threatened to advance to final passage. In return, his 2012 attempt at running for Congress received financial support from ATS co-founder Adam Tuton. Adams was defeated in the primary by US Representative Matt Salmon.
A copy of the bill is available in a 40k PDF file at the source link below.