Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Camera News: Cameras Slammed in New Jersey, Ohio

The new Jersey Senate Transportation Committee has approved a measure to block the enforcement of out of state photo tickets.  According to TheNewspaper.Com:
The panel on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure modeled after a South Dakota law that would immunize the state's residents from photo enforcement tickets issued by other jurisdictions.
The measure, championed by state Assemblyman Declan J. O'Scanlon Jr (R-Monmouth), forbids the state Motor Vehicle Commission from cooperating with NLETS, the interstate motor vehicle information network that red light camera and speed camera companies use to look up the license plate and registration information on out-of-state drivers. Without this information, the ticket cannot be mailed.
The ban would presumably prevent Maryland speed and red light camera citations from being enforced for New Jersey drivers.

In addition, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said that he may not renew the state's own red light camera law, which is set to expire this December.  According to TheNewspaper.com.

Red light cameras in New Jersey will almost certainly go dark before Christmas. Governor Chris Christie (R) on Thursday said that he was unlikely to support renewal of the program that expires December 16, and his approval is necessary. Christie appeared on New Jersey 101.5 radio's "Ask the Governor" program to deliver the message to state lawmakers that it would not be worth their time to put a reauthorization measure on his desk.
"I have real concerns about it and my inclinations are against continuing that program," Christie said in response to a caller's question. "I will tell you my gut feel on this is, Greg, that I don't favor it."
For the red light cameras to continue after December 16, a majority in the state Assembly and state Senate must send legislation providing for an extension to Christie for his signature. Such a bill has not been introduced and would have a tough time clearing the state Senate Transportation committee which unanimously voted last week to prohibit other states from mailing photo tickets to New Jersey residents. The only outspoken voice in favor of cameras is Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John S. Wisniewski (D-Parlin), a potential 2017 candidate for governor, who has proposed to let small towns install speed cameras. Christie quickly shot that idea down.
"If my inclination is against continuing that [red light camera] program, I'm certainly not inclined to start a new one [with speed cameras]."
In Ohio, the State Supreme Court ordered the Municipality of Maple Heights to place a measure which would ban speed and red light cameras on the ballot, denying an effort by the municipality to block the vote.
"Whether council delayed passage of an ordinance deliberately or negligently is not relevant," the court wrote. "The Maple Heights City Council received verification of the signatures more than two weeks before the constitutional deadline of September 5 and conducted two regular council meetings in the interim. Its failure to enact an ordinance at the second meeting fell well short of acting 'forthwith.'"
The town had tried to block the referendum vote.  An internal memo from the City's law director stated how important the cameras were to the town budget"As discussed at the numerous budget hearings, the photo monitoring devices are an integral part of our recovery plan submitted to the state for approval," "Federal, state and county cuts have crippled the city in addition to the real estate market crash... The mayor and council have decided what is in the best interest of its citizens." 

Maple Heights signed a speed camera contract with Maryland-based contractor Optotraffic in June of 2014.