BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE       BILL NO: ab 2567
          SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN               AUTHOR:  bradford
                                                         VERSION: 6/3/10
          Analysis by: Mark Stivers                      FISCAL:  no
          Hearing date: June 15, 2010





          SUBJECT:

          Photographic enforcement of street sweeping parking violations

          DESCRIPTION:

          This bill allows a local public agency to issue parking  
          citations for violation of street sweeping parking restrictions  
          based on digital photographs collected by an automated parking  
          enforcement system installed on street sweepers.

          ANALYSIS:

          Current state law establishes various parking offenses and  
          provides local governments with limited ability to adopt local  
          ordinances establishing additional parking offenses.  Parking  
          offenses are civil rather than criminal violations, subject only  
          to a civil penalty.  

          A parking citation must include the violation, the date and  
          time, the location, the penalty amount, the penalty payment due  
          date, and the procedure for the owner to pay the penalty or  
          contest the citation.  The citation must also include the  
          license number and registration expiration date, the last four  
          digits of the vehicle identification number, and the color and  
          make of the vehicle cited.  

          If a person wishes to contest a parking citation, he or she may  
          request a free initial review by the issuing agency (the city or  
          county police or parking enforcement department) within 21 days.  
           If the issuing agency is satisfied that the violation did not  
          occur, that the registered owner was not responsible for the  
          violation, or that extenuating circumstances make dismissal of  
          the citation appropriate in the interest of justice, the issuing  
          agency cancels the citation.  





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          If the person is dissatisfied with the results of the initial  
          review, he or she may request an administrative hearing with the  
          citation processing agency (which may be the same as the issuing  
          agency or may be a public or private contractor) within 21 days  
          following the mailing of the results of the initial review.   
          Along with the request, the person must deposit the amount of  
          the penalty with the processing agency unless he or she can  
          demonstrate an inability to pay.  The hearing must be conducted  
          by a qualified examiner and provide an independent, objective,  
          fair, and impartial review of the contested parking violation.   
          The officer or person who issued the citation is not required to  
          participate in the hearing, and the ticket itself is prima facie  
          evidence of the violation.  Ultimately, a person may contest a  
          negative hearing decision in superior court.

          Current law enacted in 2007 by AB 101 (Ma), Chapter 377, also  
          allows San Francisco until January 1, 2012 to issue citations  
          for violations of transit-only traffic lane parking restrictions  
          based on video images collected from cameras installed on  
          city-owned public transit vehicles.  

           This bill  allows a local public agency, until January 1, 2016,  
          to issue parking citations for violation of street sweeping  
          parking restrictions based on digital photographs collected by  
          an automated parking enforcement system installed on street  
          sweepers.  Specifically, the bill:

           Defines a local public agency as a city, county, city and  
            county, district, or joint powers authority.
           Allows a local public agency to install an automated parking  
            enforcement system on agency-owned or operated street sweepers  
            for the purpose of taking digital photographs of parking  
            violations in street sweeping lanes.
           Provides that only a local public agency may operate an  
            automated parking enforcement system.
           Requires that the equipment only capture photographs when the  
            system detects a parking infraction. 
           Requires cameras to be angled and focused in a way that  
            captures images of the vehicles' license plates without  
            unnecessarily capturing images of drivers, pedestrians, or  
            other vehicles.
           Requires the equipment to record the date and time of the  
            photograph on the photograph.
           Requires the local public agency to issue a public  
            announcement 30 days prior to beginning to issue citations and  
            to issue only warnings during the 30-day period.




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           Requires a designated city employee who is qualified to issue  
            parking citations to review the images and determine if a  
            violation of parking restrictions has occurred.  
           Allows for citations to be issued only for violations captured  
            during the hours of the street sweeping parking restrictions,  
            except that the agency may not issue citations based on  
            photographic images for violations that occur after the street  
            has been swept.
           Requires an employee of the local public agency to issue a  
            citation within 15 days of the violation.
           Requires the citation to state the parking violation and  
            include the date, time, and location of the violation, the  
            license plate number, the registration expiration date if  
            visible, the color of the vehicle, the make of the vehicle if  
            possible, a statement that payment is due within 21 days of  
            the date of issuance, and the process for paying or contesting  
            the citation.  The notice of violation must also include a  
            copy of the digital photographic evidence. 
           Requires the local public agency to serve the citation by mail  
            to the registered owner's last known address listed with the  
            Department of Motor Vehicles and to maintain proof of mailing.  

           Allows an owner, consistent with current law for all parking  
            violations, to request an initial review, to request an  
            administrative hearing, and ultimately, to contest the  
            citation in court.  
           Requires the local public agency, consistent with current law  
            for all parking violations, to cancel a citation if it  
            determines that, in the interest of justice, the citation  
            should be canceled.
           Allows the local public agency to contract with a private  
            vendor for processing citations and notices of delinquent  
            violation, provided that the agency maintains overall control  
            of supervision of the automated parking enforcement system.  
           Provides that there shall be no late fees or penalty increases  
            if the vehicle owner makes payment or contests the violation  
            within 21 days of the mailing of the citation or 14 days of  
            the mailing of a notice of delinquent parking violation.
           Provides that the photographic images collected by an  
            automated enforcement system are confidential and may only be  
            accessed and used for the purposed of this program.
           Requires the local public agency to destroy all photographic  
            images that do not involve violations within 15 days and all  
            images that do involve violations within six months or 60 days  
            after final disposition of the citation, whichever occurs  
            later.  The local public agency shall destroy the images in a  




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            manner that preserves the confidentiality of any person  
            included in the image.
           Requires a local public agency that utilizes an automated  
            parking enforcement system on street-sweepers to collect data  
            and submit a report by January 1, 2015 to the Senate and  
            Assembly Committees on Judiciary, this committee, and the  
            Assembly Committee on Transportation that includes the  
            following:

             ?    The number of citations issued.
             ?    The number of violations contested, and the final  
               disposition of those violations.
             ?    An evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the  
               program.
             ?    An evaluation of the privacy implications of the system,  
               including a summary of any privacy-related complaints about  
               the system.

           Sunsets these provisions on January 1, 2016.  

          COMMENTS:

           1.Purpose of the bill  .  According to the author, Street sweepers  
            are used throughout the state and nation to safely remove  
            debris and pollutants from the streets, thereby providing the  
            community with a cleaner environment, a reduced risk of  
            flooding from storm drain blockage, and cleaner water.  Local  
            governments routinely have to contend with illegally parked  
            vehicles impeding street sweeping.  One illegally parked  
            vehicle can result in up to three or more parking spaces not  
            being cleaned.  These spaces become harbors for trash, debris  
            and chemicals that can wash into storm drains.  By enhancing  
            enforcement efforts, this bill will facilitate street sweeping  
            and thereby benefit the environment, improve water quality,  
            decrease stormwater drain runoff, and help reduce ongoing  
            habitat deterioration.  

           2.Previous legislation  .  In 2009, Assemblyman Eng authored an  
            almost identical bill, AB 1336.  Governor Schwarzenegger  
            vetoed that bill.  In his veto message, the governor wrote:

               This bill could present a significant risk of violating an  
               individual's privacy unrelated to the enforcement of law.   
               It may also lead to the unwarranted proliferation of camera  
               enforcement in many other arenas.





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           3.Increases enforcement, efficiency, and revenue too  .  Allowing  
            local public agencies to issue tickets from an office based on  
            photographic evidence will cost much less, both in personnel  
            and equipment costs, than employing parking control officers  
            to patrol city streets, thereby increasing enforcement efforts  
            and government efficiency.  The revenue generated per ticket,  
            however, remains the same.  As a result, any city or county  
            that chooses to implement this authority is likely to see a  
            significant increase both in efficiency and, due to the  
            increased number of tickets the agency can issue and the  
            increased margin per ticket, in revenue.  In Washington, DC,  
            budget officials estimated that automated enforcement of  
            street sweeping parking violations would result in 237,000  
            more tickets in fiscal 2010.

           4.Modeled on AB 101  .  AB 101 (Ma) of 2007 allows San Francisco  
            until January 1, 2012 to issue citations for violations of  
            transit-only traffic lane parking restrictions based on video  
            images collected from cameras installed on city-owned public  
            transit.  AB 101 includes a number of procedural and privacy  
            protections for vehicle owners and the general public.  The  
            language of this bill is almost identical to that of AB 101.   
            Besides the types of violations to be photographed, the real  
            difference is that this bill applies statewide, as opposed to  
            a single jurisdiction. 

           5.Experiences in other cities  .  Two cities in the United States,  
            Chicago and Washington, D.C., have adopted street sweeper  
            camera programs.  Washington, D.C. began issuing tickets based  
            on street sweeper photographs on March 30, 2009.  According to  
            a press quote from the spokesperson for the city's Department  
            of Public Works, "Previously, you probably had about a one in  
            four chance of getting a ticket because of our limited parking  
            enforcement staff. Now you pretty much have about a 100  
            percent chance of getting a ticket."  In a phone interview  
            with committee staff, another city official familiar with the  
            program stated that no privacy issues have been raised to  
            date, possibly due to the fact that the features of any  
            individual captured in a photo are blurred and indistinct.    

            The City of Chicago approved an ordinance and signed a  
            contract with a camera vendor in 2008.  After what a city  
            spokesperson described to the press as a "very successful  
            field test" involving six street sweepers, the city  
            discontinued the program and ended the contract in April of  
            this year.  According to news reports, the city discontinued  




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            the program because the city could no longer afford it and  
            because it was not clear that state law allowed the use of  
            street sweeper cameras.  

           6.Arguments in opposition  .  First of all, opponents believe that  
            this bill is premature because the AB 101 pilot program  
            allowing San Francisco to use cameras to cite parking  
            violations in bus lanes has not yet been studied.  Second,  
            this bill raises privacy concerns for opponents.  The system  
            used in Washington, DC includes "license plate recognition  
            technology," essentially scanners that read and store license  
            plate numbers.  Washington, DC has apparently stated that it  
            may use the gathered information for other purposes, including  
            law enforcement.  While this bill requires that photos only be  
            taken when a violation is detected and further prohibits the  
            local public agency from using photos for any other purpose,  
            opponents are concerned that the bill does not explicitly  
            prohibit the use of scanning technology.  Because violations  
            can be documented with photos, there is no need for the use of  
            scanners, and the bill should prohibit their use.  In  
            addition, opponents would like to see additional language to  
            ensure that the images of any persons captured in photos are  
            cropped or blurred to protect privacy.  Lastly, opponents have  
            suggested a number of specific questions to be answered in the  
            required report.  The committee may wish to consider adding  
            additional privacy protections to the bill.
           
          7.Back to Rules Committee  .  After referring the bill to this  
            committee, the Senate Rules Committee asked that this  
            committee return the bill, if approved, to the Rules Committee  
            for further consideration of the Judiciary Committee's request  
            to hear the bill.  Historically, the Judiciary Committee has  
            focused its review on issues related to privacy.   

          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:    49-24
               Trans:    11-3

          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,
                     June 9, 2010)

               SUPPORT:  California Public Parking Association
                         California State Association of Counties
                         City and County of San Francisco
                         City of Los Angeles




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                         City of San Diego
                         League of California Cities
          
               OPPOSED:  American Civil Liberties Union