Committee passes bill to ban speed, traffic cameras

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An Ohio House Committee has passed a bill that would prohibit the use of stoplight cameras by cities, counties, townships and the state highway patrol to detect traffic light and speed violations.

The House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a fourth hearing on Tuesday to discuss House Bill 49.

Police officers came in from all over the state to speak in support of cameras being used for traffic enforcement. However, at the end of the day it wasn't enough and the proposed ban moves forward.

Departments urged legislators to adopt best practices like setting specific speed thresholds and standards for calibrations instead of scrapping cameras altogether.

"I hope you don't vote for House Bill 69 due to Elmwood Ohio and let me throw in the Village of Lucas too," said George Speaks. "To enact a statewide band that would detrimentally affect the entire state based on the alleged activities of a couple small, single villages is absurd."

On the other side, witnesses like attorney Mike Allen argue the cameras aren't about the business of public safety.

"It is about revenue, pure and simple," said Allen. "It violates and completely throws out the window the presumption of innocence."

In the end, the supporters of the ban won out. However, both sides recognize that the debate isn't over.

"Today was the first step in correcting this problem throughout our state," said Representative Dale Mallory. "We will continue to fight on to the house floor, onto the Senate, onto the Governor's desk so that we can right the wrongs that have been done."

Also included in the bill that passes out of committee was an amendment that allows some cameras to be used in school zones where officers are present.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.