Tag Archives: hb2933

House Passes Bill on Traffic Camera Contracts

A bill declaring that cities must conform their contracts with traffic camera companies to follow a state law passed last year, even if the contract was signed before the new law took effect, as approved by the House 86-4 Thursday.
The action comes with lawsuits pending against Knoxville, Farragut and the state by traffic camera operators challenging the 2011 law. The new law prohibited ticketing for right turns on red, a major source of ticket revenue under existing contracts.
Sponsor Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, said HB2933 is intended to declare that “the company is basically going to have to make do with the change” and any resulting loss of revenue.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville said he was concerned the bill would send the state “down a slippery slope” toward changing other contracts, but added “maybe it’s not as nefarious as it looks to me.”
“There’s nothing nefarious about this at all,” said Ragan.
Basically, Ragan said, the bill puts into law what state Attorney General Bob Cooper said in a legal opinion declaring the new law does not violate constitutional prohibitions against impairment of contracts.
Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, sponsor of the 2011 law, said that if Ragan’s bill had been part of his proposal, it might have blocked lawsuits against cities by traffic camera companies. The bill will help cities avoid lawsuits, he said.
“Some (traffic camera companies) are reputable. Some are not,” Dean said. “This protects the cities from those that are not reputable.”
The bill is scheduled for a Senate floor vote next week.
Deputy Knoxville Law Director Ron Mills said the bill, if passed, would apparently have no direct impact on the pending lawsuits against Knoxville and Farragut. A hearing on the Knoxville lawsuit, brought by American Traffic Solutions based on a 2009 contract.