The chairman of a key state senate committee said Friday he believes a “consensus” speed camera reform bill has a “good chance” of passing this year, after an effort failed last year on the General Assembly’s final night.
Sen. Brian Frosh, of Montgomery County, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he believes lawmakers will begin work on speed cameras with legislation that passed the House but never got voted on in the Senate.
“It had the votes to pass last year,” said Frosh, a candidate for Attorney General. “The counties and cities have also agreed to some version of that.”
Last year’s so-called “consensus” legislation was based upon a bill introduced by Baltimore County Sen. Jim Brochin. It would have placed stricter limits on where local governments could put speed cameras and required them to appoint ombudsmen to hear complaints.
Already this year, 10 bills aimed at reforming speed cameras in Maryland have been introduced in the General Assembly.
Among those is legislation from Baltimore County Del. Jon S. Cardin, also a candidate for Attorney General, that would hold fine speed camera vendors $1,000 for issuing erroneous tickets and require precise time-stamps on citiations so motorists can fact-check them.
Cardin said a recently revealed audit of Baltimore's speed cameras, which showed a high error rate, emphasized the need for reform.
“Last year, when we thought error rates were in the single digits, the citizens of Maryland rightfully responded with outrage at being ripped off,” Cardin said in a statement Friday. “Now that we know error rates in Baltimore City were actually over 10%, it is time to seriously evaluate the future of these programs statewide. Until we can audit each program and have the ability to hold jurisdictions and speed camera operators accountable, I think we should suspend the use of speed cameras entirely.”