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Ohio Cities Accuse State Government of Overreach in Attempts to Limit Traffic Cams

Traffic camera
WKSU public radio
The GOP Ohio Legislature has made repeated attempts to shut down traffic cams.

A bill halfway through the Legislature would allow the state to deduct the amount cities take in from traffic cameras from their state funding. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports even though only about a dozen or so communities in Ohio are using cameras, cities are fighting the proposal.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled cities can’t be required to have police officers present with cameras, so this bill allows cameras without cops. But it also takes away the same amount of state funding that cities raise through cameras. Supporters say they don’t need both sources of funding.  But Kent Scarrett with the Ohio Municipal League says this is about cities being able to govern themselves under home rule.

“It’s the state getting larger, kind of bullying our communities, saying ‘we don’t like what you’re doing, so we’re going to hit you where it counts, in your wallet.’ And where is counts is to our taxpayers.”

The bill was approved by the House. And Scarrett says a lawsuit is a possibility if the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.