Beaufort News

State Senate debate on Ridgeland traffic camera delayed

Objections from two state senators have delayed debate on a bill that would outlaw Ridgeland's use of cameras to enforce speeding laws on Interstate 95, as well as any future use of the technology statewide.

Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia, and Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, each placed a temporary hold last week on a proposal by Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, to ban the cameras, Grooms said.

Grooms' proposal, S336, cannot be scheduled for debate on the Senator floor until the senators remove their objections, he said.

Knotts and Sheheen said they wanted more time to review the possible merits of speed cameras.

"Sen. Grooms' measure would ban this technology altogether, and this is too big of an issue to rush through," Knotts said. "There has been some concern expressed by law enforcement around the state about using photo-radar equipment in different ways. I told them I needed about a week to get some of my questions answered. I don't intend on keeping the bill or slowing it down for long."

Sheheen had safety concerns.

"At this point, we're just trying to decide if it really does increase safety and increase the safety of our police officers without violating people's rights," he said. "I'm at a learning stage at this point."

Grooms' bill appeared headed to the floor for debate after it was approved last week by the Senate Transportation Committee, which Grooms chairs.

Grooms said he isn't concerned about the bill's future.

"They've slowed it down a little," Grooms said. "I've been told that they will remove their objections by next week. I still have a high degree of confidence that this bill will pass."

Ridgeland Mayor Gary Hodges commended Knotts and Sheheen for “their efforts to ensure this bill receives the proper debate.â€