Bid To Put Speed Cameras To Vote Fails
Organizers of a petition drive to halt Maryland's new speed camera law before it takes effect this fall said last night that they had failed to gather enough signatures to continue their effort.
The group, Maryland for Responsible Enforcement, was trying to gather approximately 53,000 signatures that would have made the law subject to a public referendum next year. A third of those signatures needed to be submitted to the state by midnight last night. The group said in a press release that it had fallen just short of the target, gathering more than 16,000 of the required 17,833 signatures needed.
The statewide law passed by the Maryland legislature this year is scheduled to take effect in October. It will allow the state to place cameras near highway work areas. Counties and towns will be able to decide whether to have the cameras in half-mile zones around schools. Drivers seen traveling at least 12 mph over the posted speed limit can expect a ticket of up to $40.
Under current law, the state only allows speed cameras in Montgomery County. Advocates say the cameras are a cost-effective way to get drivers to slow down, but critics call them intrusive and unfair.
"Over the past few weeks many Marylanders have expressed their utter disdain ranging from anger over it being another tax to concern over an increased big-brother 1984 police state," the anti-speed camera group's co-chairmen, Justin Shuy and Daniel Zubairi, said in a joint statement.
The pair said they were hampered by the short time frame allowed to collect signatures and a stringnt requirement that signatures match exactly a voter's name as it appears on official voting files.
"The fight is never over and our continued activism of speed cameras will continue," Shuy and Zubairi said.
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