A bill that would shut off red light and speed cameras throughout Ohio took a step forward Tuesday.
The Ohio House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee voted 9-4 on Tuesday evening to refer to the full Ohio house a bipartisan bill that would largely ban automated traffic cameras.
The committee approved an amendment that would allow speed cameras to be set up and operated in school zones during school hours, as long as a police officer is physically present to monitor the device and make sure it’s working properly. Otherwise, House Bill 69 would completely shut off the cameras statewide as they exist today.
Co-sponsor State Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, said he expects the bill has the votes to clear the Ohio House on Wednesday. It would still need approval from the Ohio Senate and a signature from Gov. John Kasich before it would become law.
Maag and co-sponsor Rep. Dale Mallory, D-Cincinnati, said the bill is inspired by the case of Elmwood Place, a tiny Hamilton County village that issued $1.5 million worth of automated speeding tickets during the six months they were on. A Hamilton County judge in March shut down the village’s cameras while a lawsuit challenging their legality is pending.
Police officers from Columbus, Dayton, Springfield, Trotwood and West Carrollton, which all have automated traffic cameras, testified against the bill. They said the cameras reduce crashes, free up police resources for more serious crimes and raise revenue for cities that run them.
Opponents say the cameras circumvent due process and are just a way for communities to make money.
State Rep. Ross McGregor, R-Springfield, voted against the ban, saying he would prefer to pass legislation that would set standards for how communities operate the cameras instead.