Ducey signs photo-radar ban on state highways

Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 08:05:00-04

After years of failed attempts by Republicans to restrict photo radar, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a ban Monday along state highways that would only affect two cities.

The proposal by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, only affects speed cameras in the communities of El Mirage and Star Valley. Lesko said her legislation was narrow in focus to increase the odds of it becoming law.

Ducey spokeswoman Annie Dockendorff said the bill offers a compromise for cities and towns.  "This bill closes a loophole in Arizona's photo radar laws while preserving the ability of local governments to utilize photo radar on their own roads," she said.

The Arizona League of Cities and Towns opposed the measure, saying the cameras slow down drivers in areas where police cannot safely pull them over.

Other proposals to ban photo radar have failed thus far.  Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, and Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, introduced measures earlier this session that would outright ban photo radar in the state. Smith's bill would put the measure on the ballot for voters to decide after it passes the Legislature.

Both have so far fallen to the wayside.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, introduced similar legislation last session, but her measure failed to pass in the Senate.

A two-year state-run highway photo enforcement program championed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano ended when then-Gov. Jan Brewer allowed the contract to expire in 2010.

Voters in Tucson banned photo radar in November by a wide margin. Other cities have also stopped using it in recent years amid a public outcry.