The powers that be in Annapolis sick of people whining about speed camera tickets and listening to stories about people getting bogus tickets, and have decided to respond by lifting any pretext that speed cameras are about anything but making money. So this week two state legislative committees approved a bill which removes the requirement that police review citations before they are issued, while voting down a second bill which would have banned speed cameras from being moved specifically for the purpose of increasing revenue.
The House Environmental Matters committee voted on House Bill 372: "Prohibiting a speed monitoring system or a work zone speed control system from being relocated for the purpose of increasing the revenue generated by the speed monitoring system or the work zone speed control system." The bill had been sponsored by Delegate Carolyn Howard(D, Prince George's County). Delegate Howard (who supports and voted for speed cameras) sponsored the bill and testified to the committee "A government official made a statement that speed cameras were going to be moved so they could generate more revenue. That was not the purpose of the bill when it was passed."
The committee gave the bill an "Unfavorable" vote, effectively killing it and permitting the practice of openly placing speed cameras for the purpose of increasing revenue to remain legal.
At the same time, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted in favor of a bill which would remove the requirement that citations be reviewed by police(SB486/HB944). We previously wrote how two sponsors misrepresented a provision of this bill, by stating that it would not private contractors to approve citations. We pointed out that the Fiscal Policy Notes State : "Local Effect: Potential minimal decrease in workloads or expenditures for any jurisdiction that operates a speed monitoring system program to the extent that the bill allows local police departments to more efficiently allocate resources or to contract with an outside vendor trained in speed monitoring enforcement."
"The bill authorizes a person trained in speed monitoring system enforcement who is either employed by or under contract with a law enforcement agency to sign a citation or swear to or affirm that a speed monitoring system violation occurred. Thus, in addition to shifting these duties from duly authorized police officers to other trained employees of the law enforcement agency, agencies are authorized to utilize private contractors for this service."
Senator Jennie Forehand, one of the sponsors of the bill, was quoted in Patch.com
"After talking with one officer who was assigned to the duty, he told her, "This is something someone else could be doing," she said.
"I feel very confident the system is doing a good job and nobody is getting a ticket that doesn't deserve one," Forehand added."
StopBigBrotherMD.org was represented at the hearing for SB486 and had provided Senator Forehand and the other members of the committee with FORTY PAGES of testimony including NUMEROUS proven, verifiable examples of speed camera errors which were documented in the mainstream press and obtained through public information act requests. The fact that citations are reviewed by POLICE review citations before they are issued is one of the key assurances the public was given that the system was fair and that the contractors who substantially control the cameras would not have the final say in who gets a ticket. However the City of Rockville, which supported HB486, has decided this requirement is inconvenient. Rockville listed as one of their reasons the fact that the bill would save their program $20,000 in revenue.... equal to about 1% of their gross ticket proceeds in FY11.
Several other bills are coming up for a committee hearing in the House on Friday March 9th. The most important is House Bill 1044, which would fix several gaping flaws in the state's speed camera law. It's provisions include:
- protecting your right to face the speed camera operator in court
- protecting your right to access speed camera logs for your legal defense
- protecting your right to use citation images as part of your legal defense
- Ensuring the accuracy of speed cameras by forbidding the manufacturer of the device from certifying the accuracy of their own equipment, and requiring them to meet national standards.
This bill must pass through the same house committee that just approved of placing speed cameras solely for revenue purposes. And at the rate things are going, this critical bill for your legal rights, will immediately be killed in committee as too "inconvenient" for those who want speed cameras to be "free money".
Meanwhile, the Environmental Matters committee also voted down a bill which would have ended the state's practice of placing freeway workzones speed cameras in workzones where no workers are present. And the senate committee approved a bill that would an entirely new type of photo enforcement system, "Vehicle Height Monitoring Systems", setting the precedent for photo enforcement systems bearing $500 fines, and possibly also a precedent for other types of "XYZ Monitoring Systems" to enforce obscure, local, non-safety related regulations many motorists have never heard of.
HOW did we get to this point?
How did it become a matter not of whether we have speed cameras, but whether the system should even be remotely fair? How did the question go not from whether photo enforcement will be used where there's at least an arguable safety related purpose, to considering placing cameras specifically for explicit purpose of generating revenue. How did removing existing safeguards protecting INNOCENT motorists become ok simply for the purpose of making a program slightly more profitable? How did the question go not from whether photo enforcement will be used where there's at least an arguable safety related purpose, to considering placing cameras specifically for the explicit purpose of generating revenue? How did it become a cartoonish mad dash towards a for-profit surveillance state led by crazed local governments with dollar-sign eyes and fists full of your money?
Certainly the founder of this site knew we would get here. We knew all of the presumed safeguards in the law would be eroded sooner or later, that it was never a question of having just a few cameras placed only in front of elementary schools. That's why we started StopBigBrother in the first place four years ago. But as I sit here today writing this, it's hard to accept that so many state lawmakers believe the people of Maryland will let them get away with such a callous disregard for basic legal rights that would be protected for any career criminal. It is even harder to accept that they are probably right.
There are many places to lay blame, and no doubt some are more responsible than others. But to be perfectly honest the writer of this article places the blame squarely on YOU -- our readers. Specifically, those of who have sat sheepishly by complaining about your own speed camera tickets, knowing that the system goes against the fundamental principals America's justice system is based on, but CHOOSING to do nothing.
Well, Maryland lawmakers do not care about what you think. They believe by now that you are never going to do anything about it. Now that the cameras are entrenched it is time to see what price your legal rights will fetch on the open market. They are sick of hearing you whine, shut up and accept your fleecing like a good sheep.
And guess what: StopBigBrotherMD.org is sick of your crap too! If all you want to do is complain about your own tickets, then we have too much real work to do to listen to people B-and-M. If that is all you care about and all you are ever going to do, stop reading now and pay the damn fine.
- ► 2016 (13)
- ► 2015 (39)
- ► 2014 (82)
- ► 2013 (102)
- Maryland High Court to Hear Speed Camera Case
- DC Budgets to Increase Camera Revenues by $30milli...
- House Committee Given Testimony on Camera Errors, ...
- State Senate Votes To Keep Workerless Workzone Cam...
- We Can Hardly Believe What They Are Doing Now
- Baltimore Issues Hundreds of Erroneous Citations
- Delegate Wants to Exempt Cops from Camera Tickets
- Legislative Committees Approve of Removing Police ...
- ▼ March 2012 (8)
- ► 2011 (88)
- ► 2010 (69)
- ► 2009 (58)
Our Top Stories
- Rockville Falsely Accuses School Bus of Speeding
- Montgomery County Has Secret Speed Camera Committee -- Press and Critics Not Welcome
- Montgomery Speed Camera "OmBudsman" Won't Answer Questions
- Montgomery County Issues Erroneous Tickets
- College Park Cited Stationary Bus for Speeding
- Montgomery County ATEU Defends Culture of Secrecy
- How Two-Faced Triple-A Gave Maryland Speed Cameras
- "Secret" Baltimore Speed Camera Audit Found 10% Error Rate
- Speed Camera Reform Act Just a Big Fat Lie
- Court Rules Against Morningside on Public Records Access
- Speed Camera Company Celebrates "Bounty System" Loophole
- Montgomery County Steals Lanes for Expensive Bus Program
- Wicomico County Teachers Say Camera is Not Accurate
- Montgomery Council President Rice Racked Up Tickets
- Circuit Court Rules Innocence is a Defense, Rejects "Snitch" Requirement
- Baltimore Ends Camera Contract, Moves to Hides Records
- Montgomery Scamera Boss Lies About Red Light Camera "Warning Flashes"
- Montgomery County Camera Boss Blocks Public From Secret Meeting
- Salisbury Records Show Calibration Lapses, Sorry No Refunds!!
- Speed Camera Accuracy Questioned in Morningside
- Attorny General Gansler Depicted as "Reckless Passenger"
- Morningside Deployed Cameras Despite County Denial
- Morningside Admits Maintaining No Calibration Records, Doesn't Operate Own Cameras
- ACLU Documents Mass Tracking of Motorists By License Plate Scannrs
- Brekford Demands Tribute to See Calibration Records
- Access To Brekford Calibration Records Stalled in Salisbury, Morningside
- Public and Private Lobbyists Worked to Kill Speed Camera Reform
- Montgomery County Speed Camera Transforms Toyota into Dodge
- Montgomery County Boasts Error Rate "Under Ten Percent"
- Speed Camera Company Collects Dirt on Competitors
- Woman Gets 3 Tickets from DC Without Going There
- Legislature Raises Gas Tax
- Laurel, Hagerstown Circumvent Calibration Requirement
- Speed Camera Calibration Fails To Ensure Accuracy
- Speed Camera Programs Flout Sunshine Law
- Xerox Admits 5% Error Rate For Speed Camera Tickets
- Baltimore Cites Motionless Car For Speeding
- O'Malley Says Speed Camera Bounties Are Illegal
- Baltimore Ticketed Innocent Delivery Vehicle: Documents Prove Speed Camera Error
- Rockville Sees Huge Surge in Red Light Violations
- Trucking Company Challenges Accuracy of Baltimore Citations: Videos Prove Speed Camera Errors
- Speed Camera Salesman Caught Speeding AGAIN
- Riverdale Park Defends Forgery of Police Signatures
- High Court Rules Local Governments Above the Law
- Riverdale Park Allowed Civilians to Forge Police Approvals
- Baltimore Speed Camera Issues Ticket to the Dead
- Statewide Speed Cameras Now a $77Million Per Year Industry
- PG County Court Presumes All Defendants Guilty
- Town Releases Documents Proving Errors With Optotraffic Cameras
- Man arrested for asserting innocence in speed camera hearing
- Optotraffic Representative Caught Speeding
- Driver Uses Carchip to Challenge Optotraffic Camera
- Deceased Baltimore Cop Signs 2000 Citations
- Montgomery County Denies Right To Face Camera Operator In Court
- ACS Buys Steak Dinners For Lawmakers
- Baltimore City Issues Hundreds of Tickets in Error
- Baltimore Writes Speed Camera Revenues Into Budget Before Cameras Approved
- Camera Mistakenly Accuses Driver of 100mph Rampage
- Montgomery County Scamera Contract Includes Massive PR Campaign
- Optotraffic Investigates Possible Speed Camera Errors
- Speed Camera Legislation Attracts Lobbyists
- Sykesville Voters Overturn Speed Cameras in Referendum
- Traffic Engineering Techniques Out-perform Speed Cameras
- Transportation Planning Board Unveils Plan to Track and Tax Drivers