Thursday, June 24, 2010

Henry Silent On Traffic Camera Controversy

It's his plan, it's in his budget, but Governor Henry has been remarkably silent thus far about the system of highway traffic "spy" cameras he wants to nab vehicle insurance scofflaws and raise a claimed $50 million in new revenue.

While the controversy over the system has bubbled for weeks now, with privacy concerns and questions about how the idea for the system was developed, where the $50 million in revenue figure came from, and how his campaign fundraiser Barry Switzer became involved in it, Henry has been silent.

The system was proposed by Henry in his budget, which was agreed to by Republican leaders in the House and Senate, without comment or explanation from any of them. And despite questions, House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee have remained silent.

The lack of comment, by Henry in particular, appears to be generating unrest among some legislators. Democrat Mike Shelton brought the plan to the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed an Open Records request with the Department of Public Safety. Shelton cites privacy concerns about information gathered through the system.

Several Republicans question the authority for instituting the plan and note they can find no law specifically authorizing it.

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