Speed Cameras

Iowa City Voters May Ban All Automated Tickets

The city attorney had tried to head-off citizen input


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking up the fight against red light cameras and speed cameras in Iowa. Earlier this month, lawyers from the left-leaning activist group sent an affidavit to the city council in Iowa City containing the text of a proposed initiative banning the use of all forms of photo enforcement—including license plate recognition cameras (ALPR or ANPR) and the use of drones. Residents had called the ACLU for help after city attorney Eleanor M. Dilkes took action to block citizens from ever voting on the topic.

"We are becoming involved because of the importance of this issue to the access all Iowa City residents will have to the democratic processes protected by the charter," ACLU staff attorney Rita Bettis and legal director Randall Wilson wrote. "The city attorney's position is one that encourages a content-discriminatory basis for evaluating whether direct citizen action is time-barred or not in a given case. Such an interpretation runs afoul of the city charter and well-established principles of statutory interpretation."