-The following article was submitted by District 7A Delegates Ryan Nawrocki and Kathy Szeliga about regarding Speed Cameras in Baltimore County –
Delegates Nawrocki and Szeliga were stunned to discover from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) that 41,205 individuals have flags against their registration due to speed camera violations in Baltimore County.
This number confirms that this program is simply trying to criminalize poverty for many who can’t afford this tax on the poor.
The Delegates continue to fight for working families in Baltimore County against another tax on the hard-working communities that can’t afford this radical speed camera expansion.
HB58, Baltimore County – Speed Monitoring Systems – Residential Districts, is scheduled to be voted upon during a Baltimore County delegation meeting on Friday, Feb. 2.
The bill has sparked much debate in the delegation and resulted in multiple amendments. The Delegates are concerned that speed cameras could replace much-needed community policing.
Also, a speeder receives the $40 fine weeks after the violation when the tickets appear in a mailbox.
Other speed-deterring mechanisms, such as speed humps and police working traffic, instantly stop the speeder at that moment and effectively protect children and others from dangers in real-time.
The public needs to be informed that the bill has been amended, at the request of Baltimore County Government officials, to remove the Baltimore County Council’s power to vote upon the specific locations of speed cameras that would be expanded outside of school zones.
The Baltimore County Police Department will have near unilateral authority if HB58 is passed.
The Baltimore County Chief of Police wrote a letter of support for the bill, which included two potential locations that he indicated would be the top priority if HB58 is passed.
One location at the corner of Silver Spring Road and Sherington Road in Nottingham is only .3 miles away from Perry Hall High School
property. According to current law, a speed camera can already be placed at this intersection.
Also, another location indicated at the corner of Franklin Square Drive and King Avenue in Rosedale is only .2 miles away from the location of the new Nottingham Middle School to be opened in the Fall of 2024.
This location can have a speed camera if the department feels it’s necessary under current law.
Delegate Nawrocki stated, “It’s unconscionable how many hard-working families are affected by the speed camera tax. As the Fines &; Fees Justice Center has demonstrated around the country, predominantly low- income and minority neighborhoods often bear the brunt of speed camera enforcement. The cameras are often placed in neighborhoods that can least afford this tax, which is just wrong.”
Delegate Szeliga responded to the MVA report: “Stating that a $40 fine is meaningless does not consider that these fines are another tax on the poor. With 41,205 current outstanding violations in Baltimore County, citizens are not finding it simple just to pay these fines and move on with their lives.”
The delegates are concerned about expanding speed camera’s impact on the working class, as evidenced in cities like Chicago. They have both proposed amendments to HB58 to curb this potential legislation’s negative impact.