Speed trap bill passes House

A bill to help prevent cities and counties from operating speed traps passed the state House on Friday.

Since the bill was changed in the House, SB 134 will now go back to the Senate for approval.

The latest version of the measure would force local law enforcement agencies to report how much revenue they receive from speeding tickets every year. It would also lower the cap on the portion of a law enforcement agency’s budget that can come from citing speeders, to 35 percent from 40 percent. That provision is currently known as the “40 percent rule.”

Lastly, it would increase to 20 mph from 17 mph the threshold for speeding tickets that don’t count toward the 40 percent rule.

Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, whose district includes a portion of I-75, said she feared it would harm public safety. She said law enforcement agencies might stop pulling people over for speeding unless the driver was traveling in excess of 20 mph.

“We can’t ask the counties to continue to monitor I-75 and not get anything from it,” Houston said.

Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, responded in favor of the measure, which passed 104-54.

"This bill simply creates limits where constituents of ours around the state are sometimes used as ATM machines going through small municipalities," said Setzler. "If municipalties get a certain amout of revenue from traffic citations, it is disclosed so everyone sees it and this puts some limitations on it."

The bill was introduced following an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis that exposed numerous police departments for raking in exorbitant fine amounts.