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Legislation restricting traffic cameras is headed to the governor’s desk



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – State laws governing automated traffic cameras are almost ready to be implemented in Iowa.

The House and Senate have approved a law establishing regulations for such cameras, and it is currently on the governor’s desk. This would target speeding-related cameras directly.

Two fixed traffic cameras are located in the city of Marion: one at the intersection of Highways 13 and 151, and the other at Highway 100 and East Post Road.

Mike Kitsmiller, the chief of police in Marion, stated that from his office window, he can see the one on Highway 13.

“Before, I would see people, almost every light cycle, run the light,” he said. But now, “I’m seeing those brake lights come on and people stopping instead of punching it, trying to run through at the last minute.”

These cameras will be limited by a measure that is headed to Governor Reynolds’ desk, but the chief believes this will be beneficial.

‘We’ve been looking for some kind of regulatory bill to come out,” said Kitsmiller.

Although many officials agree that cameras have made roadways safer, they have also heard allegations of misuse from cities.

“I think there’s some towns that maybe weren’t as genuine in their pursuit of those [cameras] as we were,” said Kitsmiller.

“Some of that controversy is ‘How that money is spent?'” Marion region Democratic state senator Molly Donahue continued. Is it merely a money grab, too?

The measure states that a city’s general fund is not permitted to receive revenue from traffic cameras. Only police, fire, or transportation-related projects may be funded using the money.

The measure also establishes a permit process and mandates providing data to support each camera. The permitting procedure will be applied retroactively, which means that municipalities that currently have cameras in place will either need to stop using them or approve them as well.

“I think these things work. I think there’s good data out there to show the cameras make a difference. And I’m glad they didn’t take them away from us,” Kitsmiller said of Marion’s cameras.

Although the bill wouldn’t remove cameras, officials believe it would improve system fairness.

“We want to say this is a win for everyone because it’s not a money grab, we’re making sure there’s responsible use of this, and we’re going to keep people safe,” said Donahue.

Donahue stated that this bill has been in the works for at least six years, during which time she has served as a representative. She also stated that she anticipates Governor Reynolds signing it.