Speed Trap Bill Makes It Out of Committee
Michelle Southern reporting.
A bill that would govern speed traps made it out of a House committee Monday.
The bill would require local municipalities that get more than half their revenue from traffic citations to post signs warning motorists of speed traps
The bill is authored by Rep. Steve Pylant, R-Winnsboro. Rep. Frank Howard, R-Many, said he likes the legislation.
"But I would like to see something put in the bill about the size of the sign," Howard said. "It needs to be about a 16x24 and a bright color so it shines like a diamond in a you-know-what."
Howard said speed traps are a big issue for out-of-towners in his area of the state, particularly around Toledo Bend.
But Pylant said many small towns use money generated from speeding tickets to pay salaries of sheriffs and mayors and tend to target people who are not local.
"I am not opposed to them writing tickets," Pylant said. "I oppose the fact that they fund their town off ticket writing."
Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, said he believes the bill would have unintended consequences.
"My concern is with the stigma of the 'speed trap' being placed in our communities," Landry said. "I don't like the speed trap comment."
Pylant cited a 2006 study that indicated 15 of the state's 303 municipalities earn more than 50 percent of their revenue from traffic tickets, which he said he feels is wrong.
Pylant said he believes people passing through a town should be aware that a community they are about to enter generates their revenue to operate from traffic tickets.
Republican Rep. Valarie Hodges from Denham Springs says she supports the bill, but also believes the sign should not say the words "speed trap."
"A trap is a situation in which people lie and wait to make a surprise attack," says Hodges. "And while that's basically what these are, we're trying to change the image of Louisiana."
The bill passed 9-3 and will be further considered on the House floor.