Bill aimed at Washington, La. fails

A bill aimed at redirecting revenue from speeding tickets issued in the St. Landry Parish town of Washington failed in the state House on Monday.

The vote was 40-52, or 13 votes short of the minimum needed.

The proposal, House Bill 565, would require that Washington and other municpalities with home rule charters turn over ticket revenue for citations of less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit to the state.

Rep. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, whose legislative district includes Washington, denounced the bill.

Thierry said that, even when motorists are ticketed for exceeding the speed limits by just a few miles per hour, “you are still violating state law. . . The law is there for a reason.”

State Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport and sponsor of the bill, has repeatedly charged that the town of about 1,000 residents is a speed trap where officers issue tickets on Interstate 49 for motorists traveling two or three miles over the speed limit.

The town’s police chief disputes that.

Tickets and forfeitures accounted for $1.3 million for the town between 2012-13, 84 percent of the town’s budget, according to a state report.

Seabaugh delayed a House vote on a second bill aimed at Washington.