Under the old version of state law, the statute said "If a contractor operates a speed monitoring system on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid." However speed camera contractors easily circumvented this prohibition by simply not using the term "operate" to describe what they do. Speed camera contractors, following guidance from the Attorney General's office, religiously avoided using the term "operate" to describe the contractor's activities and used this semantic loophole to implement "Bounty System" contracts which paid fees contingent on the number of tickets issued. Under such deals, the vendors received a payment based on the number of tickets issued and still maintained substantial control over the equipment and the processing of violations... so long as they religiously avoided using the WORD "operate" to describe what they did. (Or as we said "Don't Use the O Word!") The word "operate" was carefully scrubbed from all descriptions of what contractors did in most contracts and official correspondence, even though contractors in reality maintained substantial control over the deployment of machines, their calibration, and the processing of violations.
In 2014 (after even Governor O'Malley was forced to concede that the practice did not meet the intent of state law) a so called "reform" to the state's speed camera law reworded the prohibition. The new wording:
If a contractor IN ANY MANNER operates a speed monitoring system OR ADMINISTERS OR PROCESSES CITATIONS GENERATED BY A SPEED MONITORING SYSTEM on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor’s fee may not be contingent ON A PER–TICKET BASIS on the number of citations issued or paid
|Xerox celebrates that they can once again "Use the 'O' Word" to describe what they do|
However this dishonest "reform-in-name-only" legislation did change one thing: Since existing contracts have all been "grandfathered in", speed camera contractors no longer feel the need to maintain the ruse of avoiding the use of the term "operate" to describe what they do, since they need not worry about the issue being raised by ticket defendants in court. Speed Camera Contractor Xerox Corporation recently updated their website to freely use "The O Word" in marketing to describe what they do. heir website now reads "That’s why we install, operate and maintain customization, automated, photo-enforcement solutions, including red light, speed and school bus cameras." and "We specialize in operations—not just equipment. That means we can develop a customized solution that meets your operational and safety needs in a variety of areas. As an integrator, we unify the overall operation and provide a single point of contact with full responsibility for the program—making a complex safety solution simple to execute in your community."
This is what constitutes "reform" according to the Maryland legislature.