Legislation aimed at preventing small communities from abusing the power to write traffic citations on interstate highways for increased revenue purposes sailed through the State Senate Monday on a 29-0 vote.
The bill, HB1863, had already easily passed through the House with a 95-1 vote on March 20. This week’s Senate action sends it on to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The legislation, sponsored by State Representative Billy Spivey (R–Lewisburg), requires that certain small communities meet more stringent requirements in order to continue writing traffic citations on interstate highways. The inappropriate use of traffic citation powers for the purpose of revenue generation had become a concern to many across the state over the last several months.
“As things stand, a small community that barely touches an interstate highway on the edge of its jurisdiction has the power to send its police to patrol the interstate and write tickets. This approach has been inappropriately used by some to generate revenue, sometimes aggressively so, despite the fact that the interstate itself is far from the community in question,” said Representative Spivey.
“Basically, speed traps have been set, hurting those who have been ticketed as well as residents who expect and deserve to see local police more focused on local concerns.”
The bill also clarifies the previously vague definition of “marked cars” used in patrolling interstate highways.
Spivey is a member of the House State Government Committee and House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. He lives in Lewisburg and represents District 92, which includes all of Marshall and portions of Lincoln, Franklin, and Marion counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Billy.Spivey@Capitol.TN.gov or by calling (615) 741-4170.