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Lawmakers put a halt to speeding ticket bill

Utah lawmakers hit the brakes Friday on a bill that Mantua officials say targets the Box Elder County town and the money it collects through traffic tickets.
Utah lawmakers hit the brakes Friday on a bill that Mantua officials say targets the Box Elder County town and the money it collects through traffic tickets.
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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers hit the brakes Friday on a bill that Mantua officials say targets the Box Elder County town and the money it collects through traffic tickets.

SB100 would have required capping the revenue a municipality collects from traffic tickets at 25 percent of a county's, city's or town's respective budget.

The bill was stopped by the House Transportation Committee, which voted 7-1 to send it back to the rules committee. SB100, which previously had passed in the Senate, likely won't be debated again before the Legislature adjourns March 10.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said he decided to sponsor the bill after receiving numerous complaints from people in Cache Valley who said they had received traffic tickets in Mantua.

Hillyard said he originally was told the bill would affect Manuta and two other municipalities, but he's since learned that only the Box Elder County town has a budget that exceeds the proposed 25 percent cap.

Thirty-three percent of Mantua's revenue comes from traffic tickets, he said. Wellsville, also in Cache County, ranks second at 16 percent, Hillyard said.

And that proves that 25 percent "should be sufficient," he said.

Mantua Mayor and Police Chief Mike Johnson said officers give tickets because they're worried about the safety of children on school buses and local residents who regularly cross U.S. 89 from a subdivision on the west side of the highway to reach the main part of town.

Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, said he supported the bill because currently there's a "perverse incentive" for Mantua police to give tickets. Anderegg was the bill's House sponsor.

Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Logan, said he's been given ticket in the area but it was deserved, he said, because he was speeding. Fawson said he didn't want to send a message to the public that something is "only illegal if you get caught."

"Every argument in favor of the bill comes down to a complaint about having to comply with the law," said Brad Barber, a Brigham City resident and former firefighter.

Email: elarson@deseretnews.com