State Rep. Andy Holt Pays Traffic Camera Tickets With Monopoly Money, Introduces New Legislation To Fight Them
On Thursday, Tennessee State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) took to Facebook Live where he paid two traffic camera tickets with Monopoly money and a photographed image of a $50 bill. On one of the payments, Holt wrote “In the spirit of justice,” before sending it off to processors. Holt says he did the video in an effort to raise awareness for new legislation, aimed at traffic cameras, he’s introducing along with Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) and Senate Transportation Chairman Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta).
“Cities across the state, in concert with photo-enforcement companies, continue to skirt the law and take advantage of our taxpayers, and I won’t rest until everyone knows the truth about this,” says Holt.
The proposed legislation will require all unmanned traffic cameras be used only from a marked police car with the lights blazing, and will require the suspect to be pulled over by the law enforcement officer operating the manned photo-enforcement device.
“Every traffic camera proponent I’ve talked to says it’s all about safety, yet we have unmarked cars with cameras hidden inside of them which do absolutely nothing to slow a driver down,” said Holt. “It’s entrapment, plain and simple. You know what does slow a speeding vehicle down? A marked police car on the side of the road. Therefore, I don’t expect any resistance to this proposed legislation, since it is about safety, after all.”
The legislation will also have other elements. One such element is to require all communications to a violator expressly state that non-payment of the citation cannot affect your credit score, driver’s license or car insurance rates.
“We already passed this law last year, but cities continue to knowingly ignore state law in order to collect more money from people,” says Holt. “They are also issuing citations that say ‘PAYMENT IS REQUIRED BY LAW’, well, that’s not true and the cities know it’s not. Traffic violations fall under criminal statute within state law, and there is no state law on the books saying you have to pay a traffic camera citation disguised as a civil violation. Also, by saying payment is required, the citation assumes you’re guilty when you haven’t been found guilty of anything. The legislation will outlaw this predatory language.”
Holt says the proposed legislation has been met with warm reception by many Tennessee lawmakers.
“There’s a lot of support for these proposals. When the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, which will hear the legislation, carries the bill you know there’s broad support,” says Holt. “Tennesseans are tired of being manipulated by their government and legislators are starting to understand that.”
Holt says one of his biggest problems with traffic cameras is how they incite disrespect towards law enforcement.
“Not only are citizens victims of this practice, but law enforcement agents are as well, and I want people to know that,” says Holt. “Police are employed by city governments. Government officials tell them what to do. It’s unfortunate to see how many people get upset with police officers over these cameras. It’s not their fault. Trust me, I have received hundreds of phone calls from law enforcement officers who say they want these things gone, but cannot speak out in fear of losing their job. People do not need to be upset with police. They need to be upset with politicians who make the laws police are tasked with enforcing.”
Holt did a similar video last session which went viral and gained national attention where he burned a traffic camera ticket.
“I’ve still yet to have anything happen from not paying these tickets, and that’s the point people need to know. For all practical purposes, these things are virtually unenforceable. The cities and private companies simply hope you’ll fall for their extortion technique,” says Holt.