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State Bill that Would Ban City Traffic Fines Moves Forward

Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos/Flickr
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California's Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bill that would benefit state coffers, but leave cities with fewer dollars to collect when motorists get cited. Authored by Long Beach Democrat Sen. Jenny Oropeza, SB 949 would prohibit cities from citing motorists under city law instead of already existing state law, which allowed municipalities to keep fines. Opponents say it's just another way for the state to balance its dwindling budget on the backs of cities. Supporters say police shouldn't be motivated by generating revenue for the city, but rather by protecting the public. A portion of citations go back to the city to cover costs of officer's time and resources for a traffic stop.

Not a surprise; the city of Los Angeles, which has its own budget woes, officially opposes the legislation. City Councilmembers add an interesting twist to their reasoning: if it doesn't go through the state process, tickets from red light photo enforcement could be lowered from over $500 to $150.