A Possible Green Light to a Ban on Traffic Cameras

The showdown over Medicaid expansion is coming on Monday before the state Controlling Board, a lawmaker-dominated panel that decides on spending questions outside the state budget. And it appears as of now, Gov. John Kasich has the votes to get expansion through. Thousands of federal workers in Ohio are back on the job, and sites closed during the partial government shutdown are reopening again. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a visit to her native Ohio this week that work is continuing to fix glitches that hampered the launch of the federal health care overhaul. And this week brought an end to the second career of former Senate President Richard Finan, who is stepping down as the first and so far only chairman of the agency that manages the Statehouse grounds. And his going-away party was a political watcher's dream, but got a bit awkward when Gov. Kasich, with whom Finan has been feuding, showed up.

Traffic cameras are either saving people’s lives or ruining the communities they operate in, depending on your point of view. There are about a dozen cities in Ohio using these cameras to track and cite drivers who run red lights or exceed the speed limit, and they bring in big money – $16.5 million dollars last year. Supporters say those lights change drivers’ behavior and they say studies have shown the cameras create safer conditions at dangerous intersections. But opponents say these cameras are being abused to bring in money for their communities. A bill that could ban all those cameras passed the House in June. It's sponsored by a rural conservative Republican, Ron Maag of Lebanon, and an urban Democrat, Dale Mallory of Cincinnati. Maag talks about why he began his crusade against traffic cameras. And Rep. Mike Curtin, a Democrat of Columbus, discusses his reasons for voting against the ban. Also talking more in-depth about the issues involved in the use of traffic cameras are Gary Daniels with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and Mike Weinman,Director of Government Affairs for the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio.

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