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High Court: State can withhold Local Government Funds for traffic cam use

June 20, 2018
Democratic Newsroom

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that the State of Ohio can withhold funding to communities who use traffic cameras. The case resulted from the City of Toledo’s suit against the State of Ohio for withholding local budget funding for a practice upheld by the Supreme Court in previous rulings.  The Supreme Court’s past rulings said that cities could run a motor enforcement program how they see fit. 

“Many in the Legislature hold suspicion that these stationary cameras are used less for safety and more for revenue, but let me be clear, I believe that local communities will use them more if Ohio begins cutting revenue because of their usage,” Rep. Boccieri said. “Many communities get a large revenue boost and will use them more frequently to fill in holes created by state funding as they are doing now in some cases.”

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the previous decisions of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court and the Sixth District Court of Appeals ignored the General Assembly’s ability to create laws. The argument for the previous Supreme Court decision was determined due home-rule authority given in the Ohio constitution. The City of Toledo will file another lawsuit to argue the constitutionality of the decisions.

Rep. Boccieri offered a solution to the issue by passing House Bill 219, legislation he authored to ensure that state speed limits begin at the sign. Enactment of this legislation will help prevent speed traps whereas current law vaguely says Ohio motorists must obey posted speed limits. The bill was voted out of the House Transportation Committee unanimously.