Arizona House passes bill targeting photo radar

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona legislators have approved another bill that targets photo-radar law enforcement.

The Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 37-19 to approve a bill that would require cities and towns to calibrate radar cameras every 24 hours.

Bill sponsor Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, says the bill ensures the public has due process when ticketed by radar cameras.

Opponents of Gowan's bill say the term "calibrate" is vague and that it could end up being too costly for cities and towns.

House members did not debate the bill before voting for it on Wednesday.

Legislators have been trying to get rid of photo enforcement for years. Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law last year that requires state transportation officials to confirm there's a safety need before they allow cities to put photo enforcement cameras on state highways.

A two-year state-run photo enforcement program ended when Brewer allowed the contract to expire in 2010. The Legislature has failed in recent years to ban its use statewide.

Gowan's bill this year also requires any traffic citation issued from photo enforcement include the date and time of the most recent calibration, and that courts dismiss the case if the ticket does not show the camera was calibrated within 24 hours of the ticket being issued.

At a committee hearing last month, Tucson police Commander Robert Shoun said the term could be interpreted in many ways. For example, it could mean that an engineer would have to visit and work on each camera on a daily basis. That would be too expensive, he said. The city already maintains the cameras effectively, Shoun said.

"We believe our systems currently are very sound," he said. "We do believe in integrity of systems and are confident what we use today has that integrity."

Tucson's photo-enforcement program began in 2009.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

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