Lawmakers took the first steps to outlaw the cameras that several Ohio cities have set up to catch drivers who speed and run red lights. The bill goes to the House floor without the support of a key Republican.
Law enforcement and city officials oppose the ban, saying the cameras help improve safety and bring in revenue to communities struggling with police layoffs. But critics say camera programs violate due process – and often simply just raise money. And Cincinnati attorney Mike Allen has been fighting the village of Elmwood, where cameras generated three times more tickets in one month than the population of the village.
“It’s not the way to do it. It’s policing for profit,” says Allen.
Concerns about how that money would be replaced led the chair of the committee, Republican Rex Damschroder of Findlay, to vote against the ban.
“If those local public safety departments don’t have that revenue, what are we going to do, raise taxes on everybody else?” says Damschroder.
The ban is likely to be voted on by the full House later today.