Ruling backs law deducting funding to local governments using traffic cameras to collect fines


COLUMBUS (AP)

Ohio’s Supreme Court has ruled in a Toledo case that a trial court couldn’t block implementation of a 2015 state law deducting funding to local governments using traffic cameras to collect fines.

The high court’s unanimous ruling Wednesday said lower courts couldn’t block the law because no lawsuit has challenged its constitutionality, no court has found it unconstitutional and courts can’t prevent the Legislature from enacting laws.

Wednesday’s ruling dissolved lower court orders that found Ohio in contempt and blocked enforcement of the law. The high court sided with Ohio’s argument that a separate lawsuit challenging the law should have been filed.

Toledo argued earlier court orders prohibiting anti-camera laws should have applied to the 2015 law.

The city’s attorney says it will file a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality.

“Many in the Legislature hold suspicion that these stationary cameras are used less for safety and more for revenue, but let me be clear, I believe that local communities will use them more if Ohio begins cutting revenue because of their usage,” said state Rep. John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th. “Many communities get a large revenue boost and will use them more frequently to fill in holes created by state funding as they are doing now in some cases.”

Boccieri said he offered a solution to the issue by passing House Bill 219, legislation he authored to ensure that state speed limits begin at the sign. Enactment of this legislation will help prevent speed traps whereas current law vaguely says Ohio motorists must obey posted speed limits. The bill was voted out of the House Transportation Committee unanimously.

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