By Daniel Stefanski |
Days after an Arizona legislative attempt to prohibit photo radar was sent to her desk, Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed the proposal.
On Friday, Governor Hobbs sent a letter to Senate President Warren Petersen, informing the legislature of her veto of SB 1234, which was sponsored by Senator Wendy Rogers.
In her letter to the Legislature, Hobbs wrote, “I’ve heard from local leaders and the law enforcement officers across the state about the impact this bill will have on the safety of Arizonans. Research indicates that photo radar cameras demonstrate effectiveness in changing driver behavior and decreasing fatal accidents, especially in vulnerable areas like school zones. This bill’s ban of photo radar would eliminate an important tool for law enforcement that allows for a more efficient allocation of limited police resources.”
Hobbs expressed a desire to find solutions for safety issues on the streets, stating that she looks “forward to continuing the work with the Arizona legislature, law enforcement, and local municipalities to solve traffic issues and enhance public safety.”
Rogers, the bill’s champion, was deeply disappointed by Hobbs’ action on the bill. In a statement released after the news of the veto, Rogers responded: “Cities and towns use the photo radar scheme to collect millions of dollars from unwitting statewide drivers, each year. This traffic citation scam enables third-party companies to exploit Arizona drivers, a scheme never contemplated under state law. These surveillance systems ignore the root causes of safety concerns on our roads. They do little to eliminate immediate threats like drunk drivers, reckless drivers or speeders. Instead, photo radar cameras provide quick cash for the coffers of unelected municipal bureaucrats.”
She went on to say, “Furthermore, photo radar incentivizes politicians to penalize our citizens with unfair fines because 10% of each citation goes directly to fund campaigns through the AZ Clean Elections program. To add insult to injury, every single motor vehicle driver who passes by a camera, whether they’ve violated the law or not, are being photographed and documented. This is an egregious invasion of our privacy. Hobbs’ veto fails Arizonans. She will ultimately answer to our fleeced drivers who don’t support this years-long cash grab cloaked in the name of ‘traffic enforcement.'”
Arizona Representative Joseph Chaplik also weighed in on Twitter about the legislation’s demise, posting, “Disappointed but not surprised that Katie Hobbs vetoed the ban on photo radar and red light cameras. It is a money making scheme and corrupts law enforcement. I will continue fighting with Wendy Rogers until it’s finally gone from our streets.”
Stopping photo radar has long been a focus of Senator Rogers, who forecasted her plans to introduce this legislation last summer. In a statement before this legislative session, Rogers said, “The photo radar industry made its home base in Arizona. And that ends next year. We’re no longer going to allow government to spy on Arizonans for profit and trample due process rights.”
Last week, the Arizona House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 32-26 (with one member not voting and one seat vacant). Before passing the House last this month, this legislation had languished in the legislative process. The House Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee had considered the bill back on March 6, passing it with an 8-7 vote. Earlier in the session, the Senate Government Committee had cleared the measure with a 5-3 vote; and then the full Senate giving the green light with a 16-13 tally (with one member not voting).
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.