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GOP Seeks To Halt Speed Camera Bill

The Maryland Republican Party has climbed aboard an effort to petition to referendum the state's recently passed speed camera legislation.

The bill, which Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to sign, would authorize jurisdictions statewide to place speed cameras in school zones and work zones.

Over the weekend, the GOP's executive committee unanimously endorsed a move to join an existing petition effort to make the new law subject to a public vote. In Maryland, if enough signatures are collected, new laws can be suspended until the public has a say.

"This is another tax being placed on the citizens of Maryland," said party Chairman Jim Pelura. "The Maryland Republican Party says 'enough,' and we stand strongly behind placing this bill on the ballot in 2010 for the people to decide."

By John Wagner  |  May 4, 2009; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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If our legislators are so concerned for our safety, which is the reason they say that speed cameras are needed, then they should ban the use of cell phones while driving. Perhaps they haven't because it's not the revenue enhancer that the cameras are.

Posted by: bmfc | May 4, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If you're fed up with these cameras you should really look into getting a gps camera detector like

Posted by: macuser25 | May 4, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Just like a Republican to claim that cameras in front of schools is a tax. Anything that could save a life would be taxing to a Republican.

Posted by: bflorhodes | May 4, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow ... the Republican party, the party of Big Brother and Homeland Security, looking to remove the dastardly cameras????

How Specter-esque!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | May 4, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Ifr these Republicans are going to go so far to allow people to speed and run red lights, are they going to take care of all the children of parents killed in traffic? Will they tell us personally why they support outlaws over law abiding citizens? I hope so.

Otherwise, I will think they have joined the crooks for campaign contributions.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 4, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

If it is just the money, have no tax or fine at all. Just charge points - lots of points. Then see who cries. Or take away licenses.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 4, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

There is no valid reason to pass any law that negates enforcing other laws unless the law in question is either/both unconstitutional or unenforceable. In this case of traffic laws, the cameras are only a device for enforcement.

The only reason there is any opposition to the speed/red light cameras etc is the obvious intention of those who oppose them to break those laws.

I really don't see that Republicans are any better at obeying the laws than Democrats so I'm all for all the 'snoop' cameras of any kind, anywhere (especially within anything political)!!!

My only concern is that enforcement should take into account the variations and accuracy of our common speedometers.

Posted by: glen3 | May 4, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Also, do away with the Red Light Cameras which are another revenue tax stream.

Posted by: overlytaxedinmd | May 4, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes to red light cameras - NO to speed cameras. Running red lights is inherently dangerous because it results in a collision course. Speeding, OTOH is not in itself dangerous unless the speed is excessive to the point where braking is ineffective.

Posted by: maus92 | May 4, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like desperate GOP to me. We are talking about near schools and work zones, not state wide. Isn't one life worth it?

Posted by: xxx1 | May 4, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

The People deserve a vote on this issue. Frankly I don't care if it is Republicans or the Democrats who get it to the ballot so long as it gets there.

Anyone who thinks we deserve a say in an issue that will affect everyone who drives in Maryland should go to to print and sign the petition form.

Posted by: afpre42 | May 4, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

The City of Rockville has had speed cameras for over a year. The cameras are in residential neighborhoods. They don't issue a ticket unless the speed is more than 10 or 15 mph over the limit.

The Rockville Police publicize the camera locations. They have said publicly that they would be very happy if the revenue from the cameras were zero. That would mean people weren't speeding at those locations.

Before the cameras were installed, there were neighborhoods in Rockville where people were measured (by traffic counting equipment) going over 60 mph in 25 mph zones. The cameras were placed where the worst speeding happens.

If this is a tax, it is completely avoidable. All you have to do is obey the law, or at least not violate it too badly.

Posted by: StanKlein | May 4, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the GOP would favor this "tax" since anyone can opt out by driving the speed limit. Completely within the "taxpayers" discretion.

Posted by: Eric20 | May 4, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"This is another tax being placed on the citizens of Maryland," said party Chairman Jim Pelura.

Paying a fine for breaking the law is not a tax. Its a fine! Or do the republicans take their speeding ticket and drunk driver fines off on their tax returns? I wouldn't be surprised.

Republicans have already shown they do not know how to govern. Now they are just proving that by not knowing the difference between a tax and a fine. Its evident they are just climbing on what seems a popular horse. I hate the speed cameras but I also hate the cop who sits at the bottom of a hill near my house once a week. But I've learned not to speed. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had the same reaction instead of improperly calling fines for breaking a law "taxes".

Posted by: bevjims1 | May 4, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I am a Republican in Maryland, and I'm completely in favor of speed cameras. I'm experienced, too, having been the object of their desire to catch speeders. I was guilty, twice, paid my fine and now I drive more slowly. I don't see the problem with getting drivers to slow down.

The other point that needs emphasizing is that the cameras are fair: you could be an African American male driving a VW Microbus or a little old lady from Pasadena, and if you're each speeding, you're paying.

My advice to Democrats or Republicans: shut up and slow down.

Posted by: beatlemaniacs | May 4, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The GOP sold itself as "the party of law-and-order" back when angry African-Americans were burning down their neighborhoods and, as a result, frightening the bejesus out of traditionalist white folks. Fast forward forty years. The GOP is against law enforcement that would entail measuring vehicle speeds and citing those in violation. I guess that's because Republicans generally have a lead foot.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | May 4, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

So, now the Bushies want to speed through school zones? Why am I not surprised? Will they EVER respect the law?

Posted by: free-donny | May 5, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I am a speeder and I slow down where there are cameras...then speed back up right away. Changes my behavior for that ten or twelve meters which is being measured. That is all. I don't pay the fines, because I know where the cameras are. Arguments that it changes behavior are naive. It is a tax on those who do not live in the area or cannot identify speed cameras by sight while driving...but most drivers are unaware of their environment and therefore dangerous. Why not madate a longer attention span. Lifelong Dem siding with the Reps on this one.

Posted by: Spiller1 | May 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Spiller1, you contradict your own argument against speed cameras. In one line you admit to slowing down (in school zones) where the cameras are (to avoid the fine). In the next line, you claim the cameras do not change behavior.

They HAVE changed your behavior as far as they were intended. If there is a camera in front of an elementary school, you slow down in that zone. If you speed up further down the road away from the kid's crosswalk...its not the camera's responsibility. Thanks for admitting that the cameras are effectively meeting their objective and enhancing safety in front of elementary schools.

I'm actually just like you...I like to drive fast, but don't want to pay fines...and in the end, I like it that kids might be safer as a result.

Posted by: free-donny | May 7, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What I find to be completely disgusting is that the same lawmakers that voted to allow the use of speed cameras for us citizens of Maryland, voted against the amendment that would have held themselves to the same standard.

Posted by: Constance1 | May 7, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Speed cameras are just another cash grab by the Maryland General Assembly and our clueless governor. The safety argument falls flat on its face when you confront the facts: tickets will be issued for violations beginning at 12 mph above the posted limit, no points will be deducted from a driver's record (not that the camera can tell who is driving anyway), and insurance companies will not be notified. We have ways to prevent and penalize chronic speeders in school and work zones, however, there is no way, apparently, to deter chronic tax and spenders. Welcome to Maryland. Give us your wallet. It's our law because we care!

Posted by: maxfli68 | May 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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