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The City of Toledo sued the State of Ohio, seeking a temporary and permanent injunction to prevent Ohio’s new traffic camera legislation,  SB 342 ,from going into effect. (See Toledo Blade,  Toledo sues over traffic camera ban).  SB 342 requires that a police officer be present when a traffic camera is in operation, making traffic cameras economically infeasible for most cities.   The City of Akron also sued to stop the new state statute from going into effect on March 23, 2015.  See our prior post, Akron Files Lawsuit Challenging State Law Restrictions on Traffic Cameras.

In their complaint, the City asserts that SB 342 is an unconstitutional violation of the Home Rule powers granted to cities by the Ohio Constitution.  Plaintiff states that the statute does not require the police officer present at the intersection to be observing the traffic or the camera, or to even be awake.  Thus, according to the complaint, the State has no legitimate health, safety or welfare reason to require an officer’s mere presence, and all it does is impose a financial burden on cities.  The legislation is not a general law of  the state, but was imposed solely to restrict the police powers of cities, plaintiff asserts.

Attached to the complaint is Legislative Service Commission Analysis stating that HB 69 likely violates home rule.  HB 69 did not pass.  That bill would have banned traffic cameras except in limited circumstances, such as school zones. The  Legislative Service Commission Analysis of SB 342 states:

“It is unclear if the provisions of the bill infringe upon a municipal corporation’s home rule authority under Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution. See Canton v. State, 95 Ohio St.3d 149 (2002).”

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