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House passes speed camera reform bill

The House of Delegates on Wednesday approved a speed camera reform bill intended to give drivers new protections against erroneous tickets and to impose higher standards on the vendors who operate the programs.

After considering almost a dozen proposed speed camera bills, a House committee recommended one sponsored by Del. James Malone, a Baltimore County Democrat. Delegates passed it Wednesday, 116-19 , with no debate.

The measure, which in part responds to problems with Baltimore's speed camera program, now goes to the Senate.

Among other things, the legislation would tighten the definition of a school zone – one of the areas where speed violations can be enforced with cameras under current law. The measure also would require local governments that operate speed cameras to appoint an official to investigate complaints from the public of erroneous tickets and to void them if they are invalid.

The bill would also allow local jurisdictions that operate speed camera programs to collect damages from contractors with ticket error rates of more than 5 percent. It would let local governments terminate their deals with contractors that have excessive error rates or that violate the law while implementing camera programs. The legislation would also tighten a prohibition on paying contractors on a per-ticket basis.

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