Georgia House advances bill limiting locals' ticket revenue

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/31/2015

A bill nearing passage at the Georgia statehouse would make changes in state law to curtail speeds traps.

Georgia law now limits to 40 percent how much revenue departments can keep from speeding tickets. In place since the early 2000s, the rule states that anything above that amount could result in the department losing their ability to use speed detection devices.

However, speeding tickets issued for exceeding the posted limit by at least 17 mph do not count toward that percentage.

The House voted 104-54 to advance a Senate-approved bill that would increase the threshold to 20 mph. SB134 now heads back to the Senate for consideration of changes. If approved there, it would move to the governor’s desk.

In addition, the amount of revenue local or county departments could keep would be capped at 35 percent.

Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, said that lowering the threshold by 5 percent is appropriate.

“(Forty percent) is a high percentage that I suspect most legitimate police agencies could easily lower to 35 percent without it impacting the quality of speed enforcement they do,” Rotondo testified.

Agencies would also be required to report to the state each year the amount of money they receive from speeding tickets.

Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, said the changes are needed to help ensure the state does not leave any loopholes for departments to circumvent the state’s anti-speed-trap law.

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