Louisiana Legislature committee DENIES voters SAY ON TRAFFIC CAMERAS!
Ban the Cams note: Wonder what the Legislature is afraid of???? A MASSIVE REJECTION AT THE POLLS??? LET THE CITIZENS VOTE!
Traffic camera bill dies in Louisiana House committee
A bill to allow Louisiana's voters to decide the future of traffic camera programs died in committee Thursday. The bill failed by a 5-10 vote, but the sponsor said he is determined to bring the issue back next year.
House Bill 217, by state Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans, would have prohibited the levying of fines from traffic cameras unless a majority of the area's voters chose to approve the program. City and parish governing authorities would have had until mid-2014 to hold elections on the issue.
Arnold made an impassioned plea to the committee to send his bill to the House floor, saying the red light and speed camera programs were a money grab from local governments that led to an uptick in accidents.
"The experts say that (traffic cameras) makes it safer," Arnold told the committee Thursday. "I've also been told that experts built the Titanic. An amateur carpenter build Noah's Ark."
"Local government is blinded by money and false statistics," he added.
Opponents of the bill said the issue is better handled locally. They said some local officials, such as Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco, have urged parish councils to defer installing cameras until public concerns are addressed.
"For us, it's an matter of home rule," said Dee Stanley, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Lafayette, adding the program has already been heavily vetted by the public. "We've had a positive experience with the program."
The Louisiana Chiefs of Police, the Louisiana Municipal Association, the Union of Police, and several representatives from the City of Lafayette were also present in opposition to the bill.
Those who voted for Arnold's bill included: Austin Badon, D-N.O.; Wesley Bishop, D-N.O.; Terry Brown, I-Colfax; Kenny Edward Havard, R-Jackson; and Tom Willmott, R-Kenner.
Those who voted against Arnold's bill included: Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Robert Billiot, D-Westwego; Jared Brossett, D-N.O.; Roy Burrell, D-Shreveport; Michael Danahay, D-Sulphur; Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge; Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport; Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro; and Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula.