Photo radar bill fails to get out of House committee

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- A proposal to ensure officers oversee photo radar tickets before they are issued failed to pass a House committee on Tuesday in a development seen as a potential fatal blow to the legislation.

Rep. Bob Thorpe's bill is one of three Republican proposals targeting photo radar in what has become an annual effort to stop or restrict electronic ticketing.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee delayed consideration of Thorpe's bill because of the bill's confusing language. It needed to pass committee this week to advance, although it could be revived in another bill.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said House Bill 2564 was intended to ensure a uniformed officer was issuing the citation.

"If an individual is going to be cited, it's an officer that makes that final determination," Thorpe said.

However, the bill could be interpreted to mean an officer has to be present for the speeding or red light violation.

The language of the bill requires an officer to be manning, operating and monitoring a photo enforcement system to issue a ticket.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns representative Dale Wiebusch called the bill confusing.

"As written it sounds like you have an officer on the corner or up on the traffic light hanging down or something," he said.

Wiebusch said that most municipalities already have officers to make the decision whether or not to issue a speeding ticket or a red light violation.

The city of Phoenix, the Arizona Chapter of the National Safety Council, Redflex Traffic Systems and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry also opposed the legislation.

Two other bills are still moving through the Legislature. The Senate public safety committee passed a bill last week that would ban the use of photo radar statewide, while a House committee passed a bill that prevents license suspensions because of a missed photo radar court date.

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