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Missouri Lawmaker Proposes End Date For Traffic Cams
Missouri state representative introduces plan to end red light and speed cameras in September 2017.

Bryan Spencer
Photo enforcement in the state of Missouri would come to an end on September 1, 2017 under a proposal filed last week in the General Assembly. State Representative Bryan Spencer (R-Wentzville), a former school teacher, is trying to pull the plug not only on red light cameras and speed cameras, but also unmanned automated license plate readers (ALPR, also known as ANPR).

As introduced, his legislation would ban cities from creating new photo enforcement contracts after August 28, 2016. The dozens of cities with cameras already in place would be allowed to continue issuing tickets for an additional year. The same conditions would apply to any use of license plate readers without a law enforcement officer personally operating the device, though plate readers could still be used for surveys, traffic counts and other non-commercial uses.

"Any county, city, town, village, municipality, state agency, or other political subdivision of this state that has an automated traffic enforcement system installation or maintenance contract with a company or entity on August 28, 2016, shall arrange to complete or terminate the contract by September 1, 2017," House Bill 1945 states. "No automatic number plate recognition system shall be used for any commercial purposes; or unmanned."

Although red light cameras suffered severe legal and political setbacks last year, many jurisdictions, including Kansas City, are actively working toward restarting their ticketing programs. In August, the Missouri Supreme Court delivered three decisions (view rulings) striking down red light camera ordinances as unlawful. American Traffic Solutions (ATS) knew from the very beginning that such a ruling was likely (view legal memo), but the Arizona-based company began ticketing in 2006 hoping that it could convince the legislature to pass a bill authorizing cameras before the high court could act. ATS and other camera vendors often sneak authorizing provisions into bills that are presented as "restrictions" on cameras, as happened in Tennessee. Because ATS failed to secure such legislation, the firm ended up paying millions to settle a class action lawsuit over the illegal program.

On the political front, 73 percent of voters in Missouri's second largest county, St. Charles, adopted a charter amendment prohibiting automated ticketing machines. In November, a court rejected the attempt of the cities of St. Peters, O'Fallon and Lake Saint Louis to nullify the public vote and reinstate their ability to use automated ticketing machines (view ruling).

A copy of the bill is available in a 60k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File House Bill 1945 (Missouri General Assembly, 1/4/2016)

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