Bipartisan Bill To Prohibit Excessive, Unnecessary Traffic Tickets One Step Closer To Law
Legislation will give full jurisdiction to municipal and county courts
February 16, 2016
[ Hearcel F. Craig Home | Hearcel F. Craig Press ]

State Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) today announced his bipartisan legislation, House Bill 335, to establish restrictions for traffic fines, fees and other charges in small villages and specify the jurisdiction of municipal or county courts, cleared the House Local Government Committee.

“This is a fundamental matter of fairness,” said Craig. “Our current laws have allowed small localities to generate additional revenue by taking advantage of loopholes to set up higher fee and traffic offense structures. Funding cuts from the state to local communities have forced locals to get creative to stay in the black, but we cannot let citizens be treated unfairly by what essentially amounts to a different set of rules and fees beyond what state law prescribes.”  

The legislation closes a loophole created several years ago when the state enacted a law to discourage local speed traps by making county and municipal courts responsible for citations issued in villages with less than 200 residents.

Still, some small Ohio villages have found a way to continue issuing revenue-generating tickets. One small, central Ohio village even established a “civil-violations system” in which fines are paid directly to the village and the local prosecutor has the discretion to uphold, dismiss or reduce the citation.

To restrict such outsized charges, HB 335 will cap fines and fees that are in excess of local municipal or county courts list of costs and eliminate direct payments to villages by giving the local municipal and county courts full jurisdiction over municipal traffic ordinances.

The bill, jointly sponsored by Grove City Republican Rep. Cheryl Grossman, could be up for a full vote of the House as soon as February 23. 

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