Speed camera referendum moving along, organizer says
Petition language on county ordered changed
A petition drive to bring a law allowing the use of speed cameras to referendum on the 2010 ballot statewide is still on track, although language affecting Montgomery County had to be changed, an organizer said this week.
The Maryland State Board of Elections gave organizers the go-ahead late Monday to begin collecting signatures.
The Maryland Attorney General's Office ruled last week that the petition, filed April 15, to garner support for a referendum needed a more complete summary of the legislation that the referendum would address, according to Daniel Zubairi, a Bethesda businessman and chairman of Maryland for Responsible Enforcement, the group leading the speed camera referendum effort.
On Monday, the Attorney General's Office told elections officials, who in turn told organizers, that they could make a few minor changes to the petition's language and could begin collecting signatures without resubmitting the paperwork, said Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the elections board.
One of the changes in language that the Attorney General's Office called for was an explanation that the legislation would alter Montgomery County's speed camera operations, which have been in place since 2007, by increasing the speed that triggers a violation to 12 mph over the speed limit from 10 mph.
"You never know how much info they want in a summary, what level of detail," Zubairi said.
Earlier this month, the General Assembly passed a bill allowing counties and municipalities statewide to install speed enforcement cameras near schools and in highway work zones. In Montgomery County, the cameras are also in residential areas.
The measure allows local jurisdictions to issue $40 tickets to speeders photographed going 12 mph or more above the posted limit. Drivers would not receive points on their license.
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to sign the bill in May.
The Attorney General's Office also said the petition must summarize the procedure for notifying communities of new cameras and explain how revenue from the cameras would be split between the local jurisdictions and the state.
The group had a lawyer review its revised petition and resubmitted it within an hour of being notified by the state Board of Elections, said Zubairi, who ran in the Republican primary in 2006 as a candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat.
Opponents say the cameras amount to a hidden tax.
They have about 1,500 people who have signed-up online to collect signatures and will make the petition and directions on how to collect signatures available online, Zubairi said.
The group's Web site is http://scamera.wordpress.com/.