Ohio State Senate begins hearings on bill to ban most traffic cameras in the state

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The legislative process in Columbus isn't exactly known for speed - very soon they could be.

The Ohio State Senate's Government Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing Tuesday on a bill that easily passed the House earlier this year and would ban most traffic cameras in the state.

The committee heard from the sponsors of House Bill 69 Tuesday and will hear in the near future from supporters and opponents of the bill that would force municipalities to remove all cameras with the exception of those in school zones, which could only be used with a police officer present.

Supporters said the purpose of the cameras is to generate cash, while opponents said they're about safety.

"I think some municipalities are using these stop lights to generate cash since their budgets are strapped because of cuts that the state has made to the local government fund," said State Senator Shirley Smith (D) of Cleveland who sits on the committee.

But she said she believes many are using them for the right reasons: promoting safety and reducing accidents.

Many of the cameras are in use in her Cleveland district. "Most of my constituents do not like the red light cameras," she said. That doesn't mean she supports their repeal. She believes the question should be decided under Home Rule at the local level.

"We should not get involved in that at the state level, that's why I say we shouldn't ban them but we should establish some parameters on how municipalities use them," she said. "But I don't think that we at the state level should ban them."

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