Beaufort News

SC House OKs speed-camera ban on second reading

A bill banning Ridgeland's speed cameras on Interstate 95 won nearly unanimous approval Thursday from the S.C. House of Representatives, moving the legislation a step closer to passage.

The House voted 99-1 to approve the measure, which would ban speeding tickets based on photographic evidence, on a second reading.

Rep. Joseph Danning, R-Goose Creek, dissented. Danning co-sponsored a bill supporting the cameras with members of Beaufort County's House delegation: Reps. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton; Andy Patrick, R-Hilton Head Island; and Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort. That bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

Patrick and Herbkersman voted in favor of the ban Thursday. Erickson was absent, according to House records.

The bill still must get a third reading in the House before returning to the Senate. The Senate would then have to approve an amendment attached to the bill by the House Judiciary Committee before sending it to Gov. Nikki Haley for her consideration. The amendment allows law enforcement agencies to take longer than one hour to issue a speeding ticket if a crash occurred and fault cannot be immediately determined, or if the driver at fault is receiving medical treatment and not immediately accessible.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, passed the Senate in March and marks the second time in less than a year that state lawmakers have targeted Ridgeland's cameras. The town's program began in August, shortly after passage of a law that bans speed or traffic cameras except in emergencies.

Town officials claim the law applies only to the use of unmanned cameras. Ridgeland's system is attended remotely by a police officer in a nearby RV.