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Photo traffic enforcement voted down

PIERRE -- The state House of Representatives voted 69-1 Wednesday to ban the use of traffic cameras for automatic ticketing in South Dakota.

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HB 1100 would prohibit use of cameras to record red-light violations and speeding violations.

The proposal's prime sponsor, Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, listed several incidents in which the wrong drivers were cited.

She said automated tickets are civil penalties that have less recourse for motorists who contest them.

"Red light cameras are an invasion of our privacy," she said. "Red light cameras are primarily a way to raise money and not improve safety."

Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, said he's changed sides and believes a motorist's rights were violated in a Sioux Falls case.

"People watch the government to keep that in check," he said. "It's not supposed to be the government watching the people and everything we're doing."

Rep. Don Kopp, R-Rapid City, said the cameras don't stop speeding and don't inhibit traffic accidents. "It's just a way of making money," Kopp said.

The one "nay" vote came from Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell.

The measure now heads to the Senate for a committee hearing.