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Louisiana Lawmakers Fight to Ban Speed Traps

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Louisiana cities that earn a large percentage of their revenue by issuing tickets may soon have to light up the roadways with signs labeling them “speed traps.”

Earlier this week, a Louisiana House committee approved a bill that would make it mandatory for all municipalities earning 50% of their revenue from speeding tickets to set up flashing signage along the highways informing people they are traveling into a speed trap.

Supporters of the bill say revenue-based law enforcement is bad for Louisiana. “I am opposed to them writing tickets to fund a town,” said Representative and former sheriff Steven Pylant. “It’s a disgrace to our state to do this.”

However, opposing forces argue that eliminating a county’s ability to generate revenue from tickets could put many Louisiana towns in financial hardship. Fifteen of the state’s 303 cities admit to generating over half their income from these shady traffic tactics.

So far, there is no indication what the speed trap warning signs would look like, other than they will consist of flashing lights. Cities that do not establish signs at the entrance to their communities would be subject to penalties from the state — forfeiting monies collected from traffic citations.

Representative Alan Seabaugh from Shreveport says he is currently drafting a bill the would make signs that read “Slow Down Speed Trap Area Highway” mandatory along portions of Interstate 49. He says it is common practice for law enforcement to nail motorists there for traveling 2-3 miles over the speed limit – costing them $165.

Seabaugh says the area has been subject to countless complaints.

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