Rantings and Ravings
The Martin Luther King or civil rights holiday marked the beginning of another legislative session. Since I am doing mostly free-lance stuff, I do not have any burning issues to follow in this particular session.
But, again, this is Utah and the bills floated about today may change my future tomorrow. I always keep a sharp eye open for something to keep track of and speak up about.
It is still early in the session and so most of what is being bantered about is not the real controversial stuff yet. Even when I don't have a dog in the fight, it is fun to sit back and watch the fireworks when there is a hot button issue on the floor.
Today as I was reading my daily paper the debate on HB264 caught my eye. It is a bill to prohibit traffic ticket quotas. The bill is sponsored by Neil Hansen of Ogden and has sailed through the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice committee over the objections of law enforcement officials.
They deny that there are quotas, but say the bill will tie their hands when they need to send officers out to an area that has received community complaints of speeders in the area. Rumors of ticket quotas have surfaced since probably the beginning of speeding tickets.
I decided to read the text of the bill myself before making up my mind about how restrictive the bill might be to the agencies involved. I pulled it up on the legislative website and read the one paragraph.
It basically will prohibit local governmental or law enforcement agencies from directing or requiring in a certain period of time a specific amount of citations, complaints or tickets for traffic ordinance offenses.
I didn't see anything that said Price Police Chief Shilaos couldn't send an officer up on Carbon Avenue to sit on patrol and watch for speeders coming down the hill. He just couldn't say that the officer had to come back with at least six tickets issued in the four hours he was assigned to that spot.
I have to say that I have not ever been issued a speeding ticket that I didn't deserve. I have gotten a couple I didn't think were fair because everyone around me seemed to be going just as fast, but I was still speeding.
I want to keep our streets and highways safe. There are times when a road needs to be patrolled for speeders more often than others. But this needs to be done for public safety, not revenue or so an officer won't end up on probation.
I have not heard too much about quotas around the local area except when someone gets a ticket towards the end of a month and they are sure it is because the officer had to meet his quota and not because that person was speeding.
This bill will be fun to watch. There should be little change in speeding tickets if, truthfully, agencies never had a quota to meet.
We will also see what else surfaces in the annual soap opera we call the Utah legislative session.