California governor says ‘no’ to regulating ticket cams

| 10/11/2011

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that was intended to help ease concerns in California about ticket cameras being used as revenue generators.

The bill called for establishing statewide standards for installation and operation of ticket cameras by local governments.

In a statement, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, called the veto “a lost opportunity to help restore public trust in the purpose and operation of red-light cameras by bringing accountability to the process.”

Simitian wrote in the bill that before communities can install cameras they must show that “the system is needed at a specific location for reasons related to safety.” The provision would affect ticket systems installed after Jan. 1, 2012. Existing systems would be required to be in compliance the following year.

Among the provisions included in the bill is a requirement for local governments to better warn drivers that the cameras are in use. Warning signs would be required within 200 feet of an intersection with cameras.

In addition, local governments throughout the state would be required to clearly explain how to dispute a ticket.

Gov. Brown wrote in a veto statement that “this bill standardizes rules for local governments to follow when installing and maintaining red-light cameras. This is something that can and should be overseen by local elected officials.”

Critics say the governor’s decision does not make sense. A statewide standard is necessary because truckers and other drivers do not limit their travels to a single community.

The state Department of Finance offered the only opposition to the bill while it went through the statehouse. The agency noted the restrictions could result in fewer communities using the cameras.

“This could reduce annual revenues to the state and to local jurisdictions by approximately $140 million annually,” the agency wrote.

The bill could still come up for consideration of a veto override. It won legislative approval with only four votes in opposition.

“I think we can keep folks safe and still give the driving public a fair shake. I’m sorry the governor didn’t agree,” Simitian stated.

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

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