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Could There Be Amnesty For Lafayette Traffic Violators?

A introductory proposal that passed the Lafayette City Parish council two weeks ago, and up for final adoption tomorrow night, would let people who owe fines for their Safelight/Safespeed violations off the hook.  The proposal would allow ticket holders to pay their tickets, but not pay any of the late fees owed to Lafayette government.

The time for public comment is tomorrow, Tuesday March 19th.  The council meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at Lafayette City Hall on the corner of University and St. Landry Streets.

Right now, there are late fees owed on close to 17-thousand outstanding violations, and one-point-three-million dollars is owed just for the tickets alone. The proposal would allow for an amnesty period in May.  It would include, if passed in its current form, amnesty for late fees associated with red light fines, civil speeding fines and parking fines.

Lafayette City Parish Council District Six member Andy Naquin says he plans to look into the proposal much closer, but at first glance he thinks it might have some benefits:

“I had no feelings one way or the other.  We had already given the administration the go ahead to pursue other ways to pursue monies.  As far as the amnesty program, I don’t have any problem with it at this point, but I will have to look at it hard, but all it’s doing is just offering a time period for people to pay their fines without any penalties which is probably a good thing for the people who want to pay in that regard it is probably a good thing to have, there’s no doubt about it.  I mean people that want to pay their fine without any late penalties, then that’s good for them.”

Lafayette City Parish Council District Nine member William Theriot tells KPEL, that he too, wants more information, “While I do not support the program, we look forward to the discussion, and as always, I have questions”.

Naquin went on to tell KPEL that one of the interesting things about this idea is what will really happen if the council goes ahead and approves this ordinance.  Naquin says,

“I don’t know that it will drive anybody to pay the fines.  I think those people that haven’t paid don’t have any intent on paying anyway.  I don’t know. You know, I can’t tell you what’s in their minds, but we’ll have to see.  But too often that amnesty for those that are on the fence and are thinking about it paying it, it would be a good opportunity for them. If they decide to pay.”

As Councilman Theriot points out, there is no guarantee that anyone will pay the tickets.  He says, “that is yet to be known”.  He adds, “I would imagine that there is a good possibility that some will pay it, but there are probably many who won’t.”

Naquin says if the council agrees to the idea, there is one benefit for government:

“It won’t hurt anything and then it gets those things off the books, and it will be one less thing to worry about.”

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