Monday, February 10, 2014

Hearings Set for Speed Camera Bills

Hearings have been set for multiple speed camera "reform" bills in Maryland House and Senate Committees.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will be hearing a bill sponsored by Senator Jim Brochin, SB 350, which makes a series of minor changes to the law.  The bill narrows the definition of where school zone speed cameras can be placed and changes notification periods. This is a very weak bill but one can hold out hope it might be amended enough to actually matter.

An even weaker and really lame bill sponsored by Senator James Robey, who is essentially the author of Maryland's current crummy, broken speed camera law.  The bill's complicated provisions primarily addresses concerns as they are perceived by county speed camera programs who believe there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, and is designed to answer the question "How can we do a better job of public relations?" rather than actually changing "business as usual".  The bill "grandfathers in" all existing arrangements until 2017.  SB 652 is scheduled for Feb 28 in the same Senate committee.

Any speed camera bill must go through Judicial Proceedings before it can be voted in the Senate.  The members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee can be contacted at the following email addresses:
brian.frosh@senate.state.md.us,  lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us, jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us,
jennie.forehand@senate.state.md.us, steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us, nancy.jacobs@senate.state.md.us,
anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us, jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us, christopher.shank@senate.state.md.us, norman.stone@senate.state.md.us, bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us


Nine bills are scheduled to be heard by the Environmental Matters Committee on Feb 18 at 1pm, with a transportation subcommittee meeting immediately after.

- A bill to REPEAL SPEED CAMERAS, House Bill 551.   The repeal bill is sponsored by Delegate Smigiel and 22 others.

- A bill sponsored by Delegate Jon Cardin (HB57), which makes major changes to the law, including fining speed camera contractors which issue erroneous tickets, ending the "bounty system", and requiring citations to provide evidence of speed that can be used in defense of an erroneous ticket.

- Two bills which penalize contractors for issuing erroneous tickets (HB 565 and HB 82)

- A bill which limits 'school zone' speed cameras to only operate on school days (HB 429).

- A bill requiring speed cameras to capture video clips which could be used to identify errors, and requiring that this evidence be made available to defendants. (HB526)

- A bill by Delegate Braveboy (HB662) authorizing the state to conduct audits of local speed camera programs.

- A clone of Senator Robey's bill, HB929, is sponsored by the committee vice chair Delegate Malone.  The committee will need to be convinced to put the vice chair's "decoy" bill aside in order for any serious reform legislation to stand a chance of getting to the House floor.

- A bill applying only to Baltimore County requiring speed cameras to be proximate to flashing warning lights (HB650),

On Feb 25 two more bills are scheduled to be heard by Environmental Matters:
- A bill (HB 1288) which has forty six bipartisan sponsors calls for quarterly audits of all local speed camera programs.  No hearing has been set for this bill yet.

- Another  sponsored by Senator Glen Glass, HB 1360, would require the first citation issued to an individual to be a warning.

Any speed camera bill must be passed by Environmental Matters before it can go to the House of Delegats for a vote.  The members of the Environmental Matters Committee can be reached at the following email addresses:
maggie.mcintosh@house.state.md.us, james.malone@house.state.md.us,
pamela.beidle@house.state.md.us, elizabeth.bobo@house.state.md.us,
rudolph.cane@house.state.md.us, alfred.carr@house.state.md.us,
david.fraser.hidalgo@house.state.md.us, barbara.frush@house.state.md.us,
jim.gilchrist@house.state.md.us. anne.healey@house.state.md.us,
patrick.hogan@house.state.md.us, jay.jacobs@house.state.md.us,
stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us, herb.mcmillan@house.state.md.us,
doyle.niemann@house.state.md.us, wayne.norman@house.state.md.us,
anthony.odonnell@house.state.md.us, charles.otto@house.state.md.us,
shane.robinson@house.state.md.us, dana.stein@house.state.md.us,
cathy.vitale@house.state.md.us, michael.weir@house.state.md.us,
ct.wilson@house.state.md.us