One week left to get the school speed zone cameras turned back on
In a last-hour effort, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has done an end-run around the state Senate to get the school speed zone camera system working again.
Cuomo took the unusual step of declaring a state of emergency to get the system that was turned off on July 25 working before the kids return to school on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The governor has the authority to issue a state of emergency whenever he sees it as necessary, but this authority is normally used in an emergency such as a natural disaster, like flood.
In announcing the “state of emergency,” Cuomo said, “If we do not put the speed cameras back in an operational capacity, there is a high probability that we will have the loss of human life.”
A City Council bill, which was expected to be introduced yesterday, would allow the resumption of issuing tickets to drivers speeding in school zones.
The system went down in July when the state Senate failed to pass legislation that would reauthorize its use. Without comment, the Senate failed to act on a bill that was already approved months earlier by the state Assembly and instead left for vacation.
In a lame comment on the Senate’s failure to act, spokeswoman Candice Giove issued the following statement, “We have said all along that our majority supports extending this program to keep speed cameras on. In fact, we’d even consider codifying the governor’s executive order into law. The real question is will the Assembly join us.”
Cuomo’s “state of emergency” will have to be renewed every 30 days until the legislature acts. Meanwhile, the City Council will vote on its own measure today that will include even more cameras. If that happens, Mayor Bill de Blasio will be expected to issue a “message of necessity” to hasten the council bill.
There is also the possibility that the city will elect to break away from the state and create its own speed camera program that would not rely on the approval of the state legislature.
In the days leading up to the shutdown, political leaders — including most senators from New York City — community activists and ordinary citizens pleaded with the MIA senators to reconvene and authorize the cameras. They didn’t.
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