State Supreme Court says voters can’t ban red light cameras

Tim Eyman dressed as a red light camera

Bad news if you were hoping to get rid of Lynnwood’s red light cameras by ballot.

Today the State Supreme Court ruled that voters do not have the right to ban red light cameras, according to our news partners at The Seattle Times:

The Supreme Court ruling says the Legislature gave local governing bodies, but not voters, the ability to approve the cameras.

“The legislature’s grant of authority does not extend to the electorate,” the ruling says.

Cities across the state have raked in millions of dollars in fines from drivers caught on camera rolling through a right-hand turn or crossing an intersection after the light had turned red. For-profit companies review the photos, then mail tickets to offenders. The fine: $124.

Proponents of the cameras say they improve public safety and free up police for more important tasks.

The ruling stems from a measure by Tim Eyman to require a public vote before Mukilteo could install red light cameras.

Eyman released a statement that read, in part, “it’s pretty clear that they do not like the idea of voters having a chance to vote on this – because they vote against it every time. That simply sounds ‘un-American’ for the court to say ‘there are certain issues that you, the unwashed masses, should not be able to weigh in on, to give us advice on, to discuss, debate and have a public vote on.”

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