Ohio Lawmakers Try Again To Restrict Red Light Cameras

Mar 13, 2019

It’s been a few years, but state lawmakers are trying again to put rules on local traffic cameras, which they’ve said communities use to generate revenue rather than improve safety. The new regulations are part of the same budget that would raise the state’s gas tax.

The Ohio House version of the transportation budget requires traffic camera disputes go through municipal courts instead of an administrative process. It would also require cities that use cameras to report income from them, which would then be deducted from their state funds.

Keary McCarthy with the Ohio Mayors Alliance said this is an attempt to work around an Ohio Supreme Court decision upholding cities’ rights to operate camera programs. He said it has no place in a budget that needs to be agreed upon by March 31.

“We can continue to debate the value of this policy, but having it included in what is already a difficult challenge in the transportation budget doesn’t make a lot of sense,” McCarthy says.

McCarthy suggests that legal action is possible if the provision remains in the transportation budget.

In 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down an Ohio law that required a police officer to be present at red light cameras, saying it was unconstitutional. But last year the court unanimously ruled the state can cut funding to communities who use those traffic cameras.