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Ohio Supreme Court Limits State Control Over Traffic Cams — Again

About a dozen communities are fighting the state's repeated attempts to get rid of traffic cams.
About a dozen communities are fighting the state's repeated attempts to get rid of traffic cams.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that cities have the right to operate traffic cameras. Now the court is deciding whether a lower court can block a plan to cut state funding to certain communities who use those cameras.

The case involves about a dozen cities and villages.

State power vs. home rule

A trial court held the state in contempt for putting into the last budget a requirement to cut funding to cities that were not complying with a 2015 state traffic camera law. Part of that law was found unconstitutional. Joe McNamara argued for the city of Toledo, which had 44 traffic cameras.

“How do you build something on something that’s a void? If you’re building a house over a void, it falls into the void because there is no foundation," McNamara said.

But Michael Hendershot with the Ohio attorney general’s office said the lower court was wrong in blocking the funding cuts.

“The idea that any trial court can tell the (General) Assembly not to legislate, I think, is a fairly shocking proposition,” Hendershot said.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would revise the funding cuts formula, which the state says is not a camera ban but a funding incentive.

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