Tuesday night Lafayette City Council voted to defer a decision till May 21 on the much debated ordinance that would grant an amnesty period for red light camera violators owing more than $125 in fines. The proposed ordinance has proved to be lightning rod within the community, spurring vocal responses from figures on both sides of the argument.

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel stopped by “Mornings with Ken and Bernie” this morning for his weekly “Lafayette Live” segment to address the amnesty period and what it would mean for citizens of Lafayette.

While many have criticized the ordinance, including Wingin' It Wednesday panelist Carol Ross and Warren Caudle who characterized to program as "rewarding the rule breakers", Durel stressed that the proposed amnesty period is designed to recover the debt as painlessly as possible while showing the community that not paying is not an option.

It's strictly a business decision, it's not trying to do anyone a favor. We've heard people say they support the program, but if we don't go after the scalawags, they won't pay either. -Joey Durel

Those "scalawags" include those who have actively rebelled against the program since it's inception, most notably the Lafayette man who famously chose to protest the cameras by actively speeding though camera enforced intersections with his middle finger extended, incurring thousands of dollars in fines and refusing to pay.

He'd put the lives of many others in danger. He's in the $30,000 range in the fines, and he's one that we'd love to get into court. -Joey Durel

Durel admits that there's been much confusion about the proposed amnesty period from both citizens and City Council members regarding whether or not the amnesty period would actually make or lose money for the city. He broke the numbers down accordingly:

For every $125 fine:
  • A lawyer will get 1/3 - about $42
  • Redflex will get 60% of the remaining $83 balance - about $50
  • The city will take the remaining balance - about $33
Despite the money the city would potentially stand to make if all fines were collected during the amnesty period, Durel maintains that money is not the motivational factor behind the proposed ordinance.

It's not a question of whether we're going to make or lose money one it. We're going to make money and it's not going to cost us anything, but it's about equal enforcement of the law. -Joey Durel

The Lafayette City Council will decide on the red light camera violators amnesty period ordinance during their May 21 meeting.