Money from speeding tickets may go to state, not cities and towns

Attention speeders! The money you pay for your next ticket could go to the state instead of the city.

Legislation that would change that cash flow is sitting on Governor Jindal's desk, and it's raising some eyebrows.

State Representative Hollis Downs (R-Ruston) says for years towns and cities across Louisiana have been taking advantage of drivers, setting up speed traps for fast cash.

Downs met with law enforcement officials before this year's session to discuss a bill to change that and some of those same people say they've been betrayed.

Each day, hundreds of speeding tickets are issued across the Bayou state and depending on where you get pulled over, the money from your ticket will usually go right back to the city or town.

This wouldn't happen anymore, according to a measure from Downs.

"It appeared that they (law enforcement) were enforcing the speed limit at levels that were very disproportionate to what one would be equal to public safety," Downs said.

Downs' bill says if you get pulled over for going one to ten miles an hour over the speed limit on an interstate highway, the money from your ticket would go to the state highway commission to promote driver safety, not a local city or town.

Baker Police Chief Mike Knapps sat across from Downs as he prepared to draft the bill.

"It's a safety issue and it has nothing to do with money here," Knapps said.

Knapps says he has an issue with the bill itself.  The original version only applied to areas with a population of less than 1500.  Knapps and his colleagues supported that language, but after the session began, Downs and the Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) changed the bill to include those areas without a home rule charter.

"We agreed and everybody knew we agreed," Knapps said.

9 News spoke with a member of the LMA and he says his organization is confident the new way the bill is written is the best way.

As for the life of the bill, the House and Senate both accepted it.  A spokesman with the Governor's Office says Jindal will quote "not overrule the will of the legislature" hinting he will sign the bill into law.

Knapps says he and other chiefs of police around the state are urging Governor Jindal to veto the measure as a whole.