Senate Bill 986 – the measure which would cut drastically cut the fine for rolling right turns in Barstow and Apple Valley – appears to be stuck in committee.
Although it flew through the State Senate on a unanimous vote, Senator Ben Allen’s bill got a very chilly reception in the State Assembly. It’s been passed between committees for the last two months, and in early August, the Appropriations Committee placed S.B. 986 in the dreaded suspension file. The measure has drawn some criticism lately because it seemingly rewrites the definition of “stop,” and that backlash may explain the lack of progress.
There are no more hearing dates scheduled this session, which ends on August 31.
Another reason behind the sudden lack of interest in this measure is that it will cost state and local governments a lot of money, especially in places like Bakersfield that still use red light cameras, because it reduces the total bail fee (fines plus penalty assessments) for some VC 21453 (running a red light) infractions from $470 to $230.
Faced with such a steep revenue drop, the state would probably be forced to look at tax increases to fill in the gap, and that’s a politically unpopular move that no one wants to make. It’s much easier to unilaterally raise penalty assessments, declare a budgetary emergency and redirect the money collected to the general fund.
Because the bulk of these fees go to Sacramento, local prosecutors are often willing to reduce the penalty assessments in exchange for a guilty plea, but it takes a savvy attorney to engineer such an arrangement.
Getting Legal Help
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