Dayton mayor responds to lawmaker going after city’s traffic cameras

Like many Ohio motorists, state Rep. Bill Seitz doesn’t like traffic cameras — not one bit.

The long-time legislator authored an anti-traffic camera law that the Ohio Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional. Undeterred, the Cincinnati Republican crafted another bill designed to make it far more expensive for cities to use the cameras.

Related: Cities can turn red light cameras back on, court rules; state threatens to fight back

Seitz and state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, are sponsoring House Bill 410, which would require cities to file all traffic camera cases in municipal court and would reduce state funding to cities by the same amount cities collect in traffic camera revenue.

“They have to pay the filing fee, bring in a lawyer and prove their case in court. No more administrative hearings where some employee of the city sits there and the poor motorist has to, in effect, proove his innocence in order to be acquited of the civil citation,” Seitz said.

Under Seitz’ bill, the state will cut Local Government Fund money flowing to cities that use traffic enforcement cameras. “The mayor of Dayton has long protested that this is all about safety and not about revenue. I will take her at her word. Okay, we will make sure it is about safety and not about revenue because the LGF offset will take the profit out of policing for profit,” he said.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat running for governor, said “He doesn’t like the result from the Ohio Supreme Court so he’s ignoring it. It’s just another example of state government not allowing local communities make their own decisions.”

Ohio Municipal League Director Kent Scarrett said the league opposes the bill. “It seems to penalize those who are trying to employ technology and safety measures,” he said. “We think it’s not necessary and it just gets in the way for us to fund services in a predicable manner.”

Previously, Seitz pushed through a law that required cities using traffic cameras to station a full-time police officer with each camera in use; conduct a three-year traffic study before deploying a camera; give speeders a “leeway” before issuing tickets.

Related: Cities fear rise in accidents if traffic camera use ends

Dayton challenged the 2015 law in court.

In a 5-2 decision issued in July, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that that law conflicts with cities’ home-rule authority. The Ohio Constitution gives municipalities self-governance powers as long as local ordinances don’t conflict with the state’s general laws.

Related: Dayton to activate red light cameras again

At the time of the supreme court ruling, Seitz promised that lawmakers would consider new legislation requiring cities go through municipal courts instead of an administrative process for tickets issued via traffic camera enforcement programs.

Seitz, who received a ticket when a camera caught him rolling through a right turn at a red light in Columbus, noted that lawmakers approved restrictions on photo enforcement cameras in 2006 and 2014 and voters in Cincinnati and Cleveland overwhelmingly approved limits or bans.

“It’s not just me. It’s my colleagues in the General Assembly. And it’s the people in the state of Ohio who have been given the opportunity to vote on it.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Police investigate shooting reported in Xenia
Police investigate shooting reported in Xenia

Police are investigating a shooting that happened tonight in the area of Pocahontas and South Detroit streets in Xenia. The shooting was reported around 8:15 p.m. According to initial reports, the victim was headed to Greene Memorial Hospital. The victim’s name, age and condition were not available. The suspect is possibly a juvenile, according...
Hostage report leads to Fairfield Twp. SWAT call
Hostage report leads to Fairfield Twp. SWAT call

SWAT officers busted into a house Sunday night amid concerns a hostage could be inside. The breach around 7:15 p.m., which involved a type of concussion grenade, ended the hourslong law enforcement activity in the 1800 block of Pater Avenue with no one found inside the home. Fairfield Twp. police were called around 2 p.m. to a report of a “domestic...
How some local students are spreading kindness through their school
How some local students are spreading kindness through their school

Mason Intermediate students recently found a unique way to spread kindness through their school The “Snowball Challenge” consisted of students sharing thoughtful words throughout the school - specifically on crafted snowballs taped to lockers, and teacher and staff doors. The students were handed a very simple template, and were then instructed...
Trotwood police investigate assault that shuts down road
Trotwood police investigate assault that shuts down road

Trotwood police are investigating an assault Sunday near Meadowdale Elementary School. Crews were dispatched at 2:40 p.m. to Goldenrod Court in Trotwood on a report of a suspicious circumstance involving a vehicle.  The investigation shut down Goldenrod Court at Thompson Drive. Police on scene said it was an assault, but did not discuss the nature...
Boy with 10-pound tumor on face dies after surgery in Florida
Boy with 10-pound tumor on face dies after surgery in Florida

A 14-year-old boy who recently underwent surgery to remove a 10-pound tumor from his face has died, according to news reports. Emanuel Zayas developed the benign tumor while suffering from polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, a genetic disorder in which fibrous tissue begins to replace bone in the body. “Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel's family...
More Stories