Alabama bill advances; would give small towns more ticketing authority

An Alabama House panel has approved a bill that would give law enforcement officers in small towns the authority to ticket speeders on interstate highways that pass through their cities’ limits. It is the second year in a row the effort has been put before lawmakers.

The House Public Safety Committee voted to advance to the full House a bill – HB22 –that would repeal state law that prohibits towns with fewer than 19,000 residents from enforcing speed limits on interstates within city limits.

Sponsored by Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, the measure would allow police in towns with populations between 7,000 and 19,000 to write speeding tickets on interstates.

This is the second time in as many years that Ward has introduced the bill to expand ticketing authority. A year ago, the bill was killed in committee.

Supporters say the law should be changed because there are not enough state troopers for speed enforcement. They also say putting more local officers on the interstates would result in safer travel.

Opponents say the ban is necessary to prevent small towns from creating speed traps on interstates and using ticket revenue to fill city coffers.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Alabama in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor