ILNews

State trumps local red-light camera ordinances

IL Staff
January 1, 2008
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Cities and towns that want to use red-light cameras to catch traffic violators can't adopt an ordinance to implement the cameras because current laws allow only the state to regulate moving traffic violations, Attorney General Steve Carter said.

Carter issued an official opinion Friday regarding whether a municipality can adopt an ordinance to use red-light cameras to determine whether a driver has violated traffic laws. Carter issued the opinion in response to an inquiry from Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary. The city of Hammond installed cameras at certain city intersections as part of a plan to generate revenue by catching drivers who run red lights.

State law preempts a local law that attempts to further regulate automotive moving violations, and the General Assembly has to pass legislation before a red-light camera program could be implemented by a city or town, Carter wrote in the opinion. The General Assembly has granted local units of government "all the powers they need for the effective operation of government as to local affairs" in Indiana's home-rule law, but "if a city attempts to impose regulations in conflict with rights granted or reserved by the Legislature, such ordinances are invalid," Carter wrote, citing City of Indianapolis v. Fields, 506 N.E.2d 1128, 1131 (Ind. App. 1987), and City of Hammond, Lake County v. N.I.D. Corp., 435 N.E.2d 42, 48 (Ind. App. 1982).

"It is our opinion the General Assembly must enact enabling legislation before a red light camera enforcement program may be implemented by a local government entity," he wrote.

Bills have been introduced allowing cities, towns, and counties the legal ability to implement red-light cameras, but none of the bills passed the General Assembly.
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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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