Utah bill to outlaw ticket quotas dies

| 3/13/2008

A bill in Utah that was intended to prevent law enforcement officers from going on ticket writing sprees has died.

Utah law now sends 65 percent of revenue from traffic citations to the Legislature. The money goes for use in 13 programs. The rest is split evenly between the municipality where the ticket was issued and the law enforcement agency that issued the ticket.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 3-2 in opposition to a House-approved bill – HB264 – that would have prohibited all law enforcement agencies in the state from setting traffic ticket quotas. The protection also would have applied to complaints and warning notices.

The bill’s demise marks the second time in consecutive years that Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, was unsuccessful in his attempt to change the state law. The effort stalled in the same Senate committee a year ago.

Hansen previously told lawmakers he was spurred to act because he had firsthand knowledge that officers in Ogden City are required to write a certain number of tickets. In testimony to a House committee, his daughter recounted an incident where she was pulled over with her father for changing lanes without signaling and was told by an officer there is a quota, the Deseret Morning News reported.

Sen. Jon Greiner, R-Ogden, chairman of the Senate judiciary panel, also is the Ogden chief of police. He said it isn’t up to lawmakers to tell police departments how to manage their officers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Utah, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor