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Ohio Supreme Court Limits State Control Over Traffic Cams — Again

A photo of a traffic camera
About a dozen communities are fighting the state's repeated attempts to get rid of traffic cams.

The Ohio Supreme Courthas ruled that cities have the right to operate traffic cameras. Now the court is deciding whether a lower court can block a plan to cut state funding to certain communities who use those cameras.

The case involves about a dozen cities and villages.

A trial court held the state in contempt for putting into the last budget a requirement to cut funding to cities that were not complying with a 2015 state traffic camera law. Part of that law was found unconstitutional. Joe McNamara argued for the city of Toledo, which had 44 traffic cameras.

“How do you build something on something that’s a void? If you’re building a house over a void, it falls into the void because there is no foundation," McNamara said.

But Michael Hendershot with the Ohio attorney general’s office said the lower court was wrong in blocking the funding cuts.

“The idea that any trial court can tell the (General) Assembly not to legislate, I think, is a fairly shocking proposition,” Hendershot said.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would revise the funding cuts formula, which the state says is not a camera ban but a funding incentive.

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.