Posted: Mar 24, 2014 5:42 PM by Jason Newton
Updated: Mar 24, 2014 7:02 PM
BATON ROUGE - Drivers may soon have ample warning before driving into a speed trap in Louisiana as lawmakers are considering a bill to clearly identify to drivers the upcoming drop in the speed limit.
If some lawmakers get their way, warning signs with flashing lights will alert drivers to slow down when driving into a town that banks on speeders. The bill dealing with speed traps was heard Monday by the House Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works.
"I'm not against them writing tickets," said Representative Steve Plyant (R) - Winnsboro, who authored the bill. "I'm opposed to them funding a town off ticket writing."
Lawmakers are targeting those towns that generate more than half of their revenue from tickets written by police.
"They write speeding tickets and it pays for police salary, the mayor, the council and two or three city clerks," Plyant said.
Plyant is the former sheriff of Franklin Parish. He wants to force towns to pay for and post signs warning drivers of the upcoming speed trap. He has support from some local lawmakers, including Rep. Regina Barrow (D) - Baton Rouge.
"Stops them for 5 mph over and the ticket is almost $300," Barrow testified to the committee. "That's injustice to our citizens."
But not all think it's a good idea and see it as an unnecessary bill.
"I just hate to stigmatize Louisiana," said Rep. Valarie Hodges (R) - Denham Springs. "We're admitting we've got traps there and really not fixing the problem."
The Louisiana Municipal Association also spoke out against the proposal before it ultimately passed out of committee.
"People who break the law have got to pay consequences," said Ronnie Harris, executive director of LMA. "Because that's what society is built on."
The speed trap bill will now face a vote by the entire House of Representatives. It could affect about 15 towns throughout the state.