House rejects traffic camera proposal

A bill that would let voters decide whether to permit traffic cameras failed Tuesday in the Louisiana House.

The vote was 43-40, which is 10 votes shy of the minimum needed for final approval.

State Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans and a longtime critic of the cameras, disputed charges that the proposal would interfere with local governments.

“This is big government saying let people have a voice,” Arnold told colleagues in closing arguments on his bill.

Opponents said the issue is a local matter.

State Rep. Robert Billiot, D-Waggaman, said voters already have a voice in who holds elected office every four years, and those officials are responsible for the cameras.

“We are telling you how to run your local government,” Billiot said of Arnold’s plan.

The legislation would require local governments that already have the cameras to submit the issue to voters by July 1, 2015.

Those without them would have to win majority approval of voters before the cameras are erected.

The changes, which were included in an amendment that overhauled Arnold’s original bill, won approval 57-26.

A bid to kill the proposal by sending it to the House Appropriations Committee for a cost review failed 25-59, suggesting the local voter option enjoyed support.

However the proposal, House Bill 801, fell well short of the needed majority on the final tally.

Moments later Arnold shelved a releated measure.