BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                             SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
                           Senator Ellen M. Corbett, Chair
                              2009-2010 Regular Session


          AB 2567 (Bradford)
          As Amended June 17, 2010
          Hearing Date: June 29, 2010
          Fiscal: No
          Urgency: No
          BCP:jd
                    

                                        SUBJECT
                                           
                  Parking Violations: Digital Photograph Recordings

                                      DESCRIPTION  

          This bill would authorize a local public agency to install and  
          operate an automated parking enforcement system that uses  
          equipment installed on street sweepers to take digital  
          photographs of parking violations occurring in street-sweeping  
          parking lanes during designated street sweeping hours.
           
          The bill would require a designated employee to review the  
          digital image recordings, determine whether a parking violation  
          occurred, and to issue a notice of violation. 
           
          This bill would require that notice of parking violation to be  
          served by depositing the notice in the mail to the registered  
          owner's last known address listed with the Department of Motor  
          Vehicles.
           
          This bill would allow the local public agency to contract with a  
          private vendor for the processing of notices of violation,  
          provided that overall control and supervision is maintained by  
          the local public agency.

                                      BACKGROUND  

          While some counties may have already installed certain automated  
          systems, legislative authorization for automated enforcement  
          procedures relating to traffic violations began in 1994 with SB  
          1802 (Rosenthal, Chapter 1216, Statutes of 1994).  That bill  
          authorized the use of "automated rail crossing enforcement  
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          systems" to enforce prohibitions on drivers from passing around  
          or under rail crossings while the gates are closed.  (Veh. Code  
          Sec. 22451.)  Those systems functioned by photographing the  
          front license plate and the driver of vehicles that proceeded  
          around closed rail crossing gates in violation of the Vehicle  
          Code provisions.  Those drivers, in turn, received citations for  
          their violations.
           In 1995, the Legislature authorized a three-year trial red  
          light camera enforcement system program.  (SB 833, Kopp, Chapter  
          922, Statutes of 1995.)  Using similar technology, that program  
          used sensors connected to cameras to take photographs of the  
          front license plate and driver upon entering an intersection on  
          a red light.  That program was permanently extended in 1998 by  
          SB 1136 (Kopp, Chapter 54, Statutes of 1998).  
           
          In 2007, the Legislature authorized a four-year pilot project  
          where the City and County of San Francisco was authorized to  
          install video cameras on city-owned public transit for the  
          purpose of videotaping parking violations in transit-only  
          traffic lanes.  (AB 101, Ma, Chapter 377, Statutes of 2007.)   
          The City and County of San Francisco is required to provide an  
          evaluation of the effectiveness of that program no later than  
          March 1, 2011, and the authorization itself will sunset on  
          January 1, 2012.
           
          This bill would grant a broad authority, based on AB 101, that  
          would allow a local public agency to utilize an automated  
          parking enforcement system that uses cameras on street sweepers  
          for the purpose of taking digital photographs of parking  
          violations.  Under current law, parking violations are civil  
          violations, subject only to a civil penalty.  Those violations  
          must contain the basis for the violation, a statement that  
          payment is due no later than 21 days from the date of issuance,  
          and the procedure to contest the citation.  Those violations  
          must also state the license number and registration date, if  
          visible, the last four digits of the vehicle identification  
          number, if readable, the color of the vehicle, and, if possible,  
          the make of the vehicle.  This bill would adapt those provisions  
          for use in enforcement of parking violations in street sweeping  
          parking lanes, as specified, including the procedure for  
          contesting a notice of violation, contents of the notice of  
          violation, use of the digital photographs, and method for  
          delivery of the notice of violation.
           
          In vetoing a substantially similar bill last year, the Governor  
          stated that AB 1336 (Eng, 2009) "could present a significant  
                                                                      



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          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."   
          Similar concerns regarding privacy and the unintended  
          consequences of authorizing the additional use of cameras are  
          discussed in the Comments below. 

          This bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Transportation  
          and Housing on June 15, 2010.

                                CHANGES TO EXISTING LAW
           
           Existing law  authorizes the use of an automated enforcement  
          system for enforcement of red light violations by a governmental  
          agency, subject to specific requirements and limitations.  (Veh.  
          Code Sec. 21455.5.)  Existing law provides that a violation of  
          any regulation governing the standing or parking of a vehicle  
          under the Vehicle Code, federal statute or regulation, or local  
          ordinance, is subject to a civil penalty. (Veh. Code Sec.  
          40200.)  
            
          Existing law  provides that notice of a delinquent parking  
          violation must contain various information, including a notice  
          that unless the parking penalty is paid or contested within 21  
          calendar days from the issuance of a citation, or 14 calendar  
          days from the mailing of a delinquent parking violation, as  
          specified, the renewal of the vehicle registration is contingent  
          upon compliance with the notice. (Veh. Code Sec. 40207.)
           
           Existing law  authorized the City and County of San Francisco  
          (San Francisco), until January 1, 2012, to enforce parking  
          violations in specified transit-only traffic lanes through the  
          use of video image evidence.  San Francisco was authorized to  
          install automated forward facing parking control devices on  
          city-owned public transit vehicles for the purpose of  
          video-imaging parking violations in transit-only traffic lanes.   
          If implemented, San Francisco was required to submit an  
          evaluation of the program on or before March 1, 2011.  (Veh.  
          Code Sec. 40207 et seq.)
           
           This bill  would enact a similar program with regards to street  
          sweepers throughout all of California.  Specifically, this bill  
          would allow a local public agency to install and operate an  
          automated parking enforcement system on street sweepers for the  
          purpose of digital photographing of street-sweeping parking  
          violations occurring in street-sweeping lanes.  That equipment  
                                                                      



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          must be angled and focused so as to capture photographs of  
          license plates of vehicles violating street-sweeping regulations  
          and must not unnecessarily capture identifying photographs of  
          other drivers, vehicles, or pedestrians.

           This bill  would permit that equipment to only capture digital  
          photographs when the automated parking enforcement system  
          detects the occurrence of a parking infraction.  The equipment  
          shall record the date and time the photograph was captured onto  
          the photograph, and require any information read from a license  
          plate at a location or at a time not designated for street  
          sweeping to be destroyed by the close of the next business day.
           
           This bill  would permit citations to be issued only for  
          violations captured during the designated hours of operation for  
          a street-sweeping lane, as specified.  
           
           This bill  would provide that, at least 30-days prior to issuing  
          notices of parking violations, the local public agency shall  
          make a public announcement of the automated enforcement system  
          and only issue warning notices during that 30-day period.
           
           This bill  would permit a designated employee for the local  
          public agency to review digital photographs for purposes of  
          determining whether a parking violation occurred in a  
          street-sweeping parking lane.  A violation of a statute,  
          regulation, ordinance governing parking under the Vehicle Code,  
          a federal or state statute or regulation, or an ordinance  
          enacted by the local public agency occurring in a  
          street-sweeping parking lane observed by the designated employee  
          in the photographs would be subject to a civil penalty.  
           
           This bill  would provide that digital photograph evidence may be  
          retained for up to six months from the date the information was  
          first obtained, or 90 days after final disposition of the  
          citation, whichever date is sooner, after which time the  
          information shall be destroyed in a manner that preserves the  
          confidentiality of any person included in the record or  
          information, as specified.  Photographs that do not contain  
          evidence of a parking violation must be destroyed, in a manner  
          that preserves the confidentiality of any person included in the  
          information, within 15 days after the information was first  
          obtained.
           
           This bill  would provide that the digital image photographs made,  
          and any information read from license plates, by an automated  
                                                                      



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          parking enforcement system are confidential, and that local  
          public agencies shall use and allow access to those photographs  
          and license plate readings only for purposes authorized by this  
          bill.
           
           This bill  would require a designated employee for the local  
          public agency to issue a notice of parking violation to the  
          registered owner within 15 calendar days of the violation, as  
          specified.  The notice must include a statement that payment is  
          required within 21 calendar days from the date of issuance, and  
          the procedure to deposit the parking penalty or to contest the  
          citation.  The notice must include a copy of the digital  
          photograph evidence. 
           
           This bill  would state that the notice of parking violation shall  
          be served by mail and sent to the registered owner's last known  
          address listed with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  If  
          payment is made within either 21 calendar days from the date of  
          mailing of the citation, or 14 calendar days after mailing of  
          the notice of delinquent parking violation, the parking penalty  
          shall consist solely of the amount of the original penalty. The  
          local public agency shall allow a person to contest a notice of  
          parking violation, as specified.
           
           This bill  would permit a contestant to seek court review by  
          filing an appeal, as specified, following an initial review by  
          the local agency and an administrative hearing.
           
           This bill  would also permit the local public agency to contract  
          with a private vendor for the processing of notices of parking  
          violations and notices of delinquent violations, if the local  
          public agency maintains overall control and supervision of the  
          automated parking enforcement system.

           This bill  would require a local public agency that utilizes an  
          automated parking enforcement system to collect and report to  
          the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary, the Senate  
          Committee on Transportation and Housing, and the Assembly  
          Committee on Transportation, data regarding: (1) number of  
          citations issued; (2) number of violations contested and the  
          final disposition of those violations; (3) number and percentage  
          of photographs recorded from which notices of parking violations  
          were issued; (4) number and percentage of photographs recorded  
          from which no notices of parking violations were recorded; (5)  
          summary of instances in which a request for a photograph for a  
          purpose unrelated to this bill; (6) procedure use for  
                                                                      



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          destruction of license plate readings; (7) evaluation of the  
          overall effectiveness of the program; and (8) an evaluation of  
          the privacy implications of the system. 

          This bill  would define local public agency, street sweeper, and  
          street-sweeping parking lane.
           
           This bill  would additionally codify various findings and  
          declaration regarding the benefits of street sweeping.

           This bill  would sunset on January 1, 2016.

                                        COMMENT
           
          1.    Stated need for the bill  

          According to the author, "[t]his bill allows public entities to  
          install automatic parking enforcement systems on owned or  
          operated street sweepers.  These systems use scanning technology  
          as well as digital photography to cite vehicles that are parked  
          on street during designated street sweeping hours."  The  
          California Public Parking Association, in support, further  
          states:

            AB 2567 will significantly help reduce urban runoff into our  
            lakes, rivers, and beaches while uniformly enforcing posted  
            parking regulations.  Each year, illegally-parked private  
            cars, trucks and service vehicles on local streets and roads  
            disrupt full street sweeping of as many as three parking  
            spaces per illegally parked vehicle, resulting in  
            significant debris, grease, oil metals, and other pollutants  
            being needlessly washed into storm water drains rather than  
            being captured by street sweepers. . . . We believe street  
            sweepers that use an automated parking enforcement system  
            for the purpose of enforcing parking violations occurring in  
            street-sweeping parking lanes will effectively complement  
            the work and responsibilities of parking enforcement  
            personnel as well as help in the allocation of resources for  
            higher priority parking violations and other more critical  
            transportation enforcement demands.

          2.    AB 101 (Ma, Chapter 377, Statutes of 2007)  
           
          This bill is similar to AB 101, which authorized the City and  
          County of San Francisco to issue citations based on  
          photo-evidence of transit-only parking violations.  This  
                                                                      



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          committee's analysis raised questions about the privacy  
          implications resulting from the placement of outward facing  
          cameras on transit vehicles and stated:
           
            While previously allowing citations based upon photographic  
            evidence for dangerous rail crossings and red light  
            violations appeared to be mainly supported by the lives that  
            would be saved by increased enforcement, and deterrence of  
            reckless conduct, parking violations do not rise to that  
            level. 
            . . . Thus, the program proposed by this bill represents a  
            fundamental shift in the justification required in order to  
            implement an automatic enforcement system.  If cost savings  
            are considered sufficient justification for such automation,  
            many additional types of violations could be modified  
            pursuant to the precedent set by [AB 101].
           
          This bill would rely upon the precedent set by AB 101 (Ma, 2007)  
          to allow street sweepers throughout the state to capture digital  
          photographs for purposes of issuing parking citations.  That  
          precedent - authorizing the use of cameras to save on costs -  
          represents a fundamental change in how California has  
          historically used cameras to enforce violations.  This  
          legislation represents another step away from the rationale  
          previously used to justify the use of cameras for automated  
          enforcement.  Although this bill could arguably result in  
          reduced employee costs for local governments (and increased  
          revenue from citations), part of that cost reduction could also  
          come in the form of fewer employees needed to patrol for those  
          violations.  

          It should also be noted that AB 101 will sunset on January 1,  
          2012, and the Legislature has not yet had an opportunity to  
          review that narrow pilot program to see if it should be renewed.

          3.   Privacy considerations of authorizing digital imaging from  
          street sweepers  
             
          As approved by this committee, AB 101 permitted cameras to only  
          record images when the driver actually observes a parking  
          violation.  The committee analysis noted that the proposed  
          "limited use of video recording would prevent unnecessary,  
          potentially privacy invasive video footage from being captured."  
           While floor amendments removed that provision, those compromise  
          amendments sought to respond to the privacy concerns by removing  
          street sweepers (which were originally included in AB 101), and  
                                                                      



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          allowing citations only for violations occurring in named  
          transit-only traffic lanes.  Similar to the amendments accepted  
          in this committee on AB 101, this bill would permit the  
          equipment to only capture digital photographs when the automated  
          parking enforcement system detects the occurrence of a parking  
          violation.
           
          From a privacy standpoint, the routes of transit buses  
          authorized by AB 101 were through downtown urban areas.  On the  
          other hand, street sweepers travel through all parts,  
          residential and nonresidential, of a city.  As a result, the  
          proposed cameras represent a greater privacy risk by authorizing  
          the use of cameras in residential areas for which there  
          currently may be no surveillance - that potential privacy risk  
          is even greater if street sweepers continually transmit data  
          while moving down the street.  


          4.   Opposition's concerns  

          The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in opposition, notes  
          that AB 2567 raises numerous privacy concerns that should be  
          addressed before authorizing this technology to be used  
          statewide.
          The ACLU asserts that the Legislature should wait until the  
          evaluation of AB 101 (Ma, 2007) has been completed before  
          authorizing another pilot project (see Comment 2), and that  
          "[t]here needs to be a careful cost/benefit analysis of the use  
          of this government operated technology that possibly captures  
          images of individuals and places them at specific locations,  
          especially in residential locations."  ACLU urges the author to  
          hold AB 2567 until AB 101 has been evaluated by the Legislature.

          Regarding the proposed use of automated parking enforcement  
          systems that can detect parking violations, the ACLU notes that  
          "Both Chicago and the District of Columbia, two cities mentioned  
          in the bill that have already employed digital photography on  
          street sweepers for the same purpose, use a technology referred  
          to as 'License Plate Recognition Technology.'  Questions  
          regarding how privacy will be protected as the technology  
          'recognizes' license plates, and 'detects' violations, must be  
          answered before implementing this technology statewide."   
          Committee staff notes that although AB 1336 contained a  
          definition of "automated parking enforcement system" - that  
          definition was removed from AB 2567, thus permitting any form of  
          system that meets the other requirements of the bill.  Those  
                                                                      



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          systems could employ the license plate recognition technology,  
          triggering the above questions by the ACLU regarding how privacy  
          will be protected with such a system.

          Due to those serious concerns, the ACLU strongly urges that the  
          bill be made into a pilot project that specifies certain cities  
          - that narrowing would be consistent with the approach taken for  
          AB 101, which limited that program to not only a specific  
          city/county, but to specific streets within that city/county.

          5.   Issues associated with private vendor contracts  
           
          Similar to AB 101, this bill would allow a local public agency  
          to contract with a private vendor for the processing of notices  
          of parking violations and notice of delinquent violations.  A  
          similar allowance is provided in Vehicle Code Section 21455.5  
          relating to red light photo citations, but that allowance states  
          that certain activities may not be contracted out to the  
          manufacturer or supplier of the automated enforcement system.  
            
          It should be noted that nothing in this bill details the fee  
          that a public agency may pay to the private vendor for  
          processing the notices of parking violations and notices of  
          delinquent violations.  Depending on the role that the vendor  
          has in the process, and whether their pay is based upon the  
          revenue generated from the parking violations, that vendor may  
          have an incentive to become overzealous in the issuance of those  
          violations.  While the agency is required to maintain overall  
          control and supervision of the program, as noted above, it is  
          the day-to-day operations (such as installation and maintenance)  
          that impact whether a consumer receives a notice of violation.
           
          Committee staff notes that legal questions have been previously  
          raised about the red light camera program in San Francisco and  
          other cities.  The San Francisco Chronicle's February 22, 2006  
          article discussing an agreement by red light camera plaintiffs  
          to dismiss a case against the cities of San Francisco and San  
          Diego noted that "[l]awyers for the plaintiffs argued that the  
          use of automatic cameras was unconstitutional because some of  
          the money from ticket fines was being paid to a private company,  
          which installs and maintains the cameras."  The article reported  
          that the plaintiffs dropped the action "to avoid exposing  
          clients to a potential claim from San Francisco and San Diego  
          for legal costs."
            
           6.    Provisions of the bill do include protections previously  
                                                                      



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            recommended by this committee
           
          Despite the above issues, this bill does contain language either  
          suggested by this committee, or later agreed to by the author of  
          AB 101 that provides both due process protections and addresses  
          some of the issues relating to privacy.  
           
          Specifically, this bill would: (1) require equipment to be  
          angled and focused so as to capture digital photographs of  
          license plates on vehicles violating designated street sweeping  
          regulations; (2) require the designated employee who reviews the  
          recordings to be qualified by the local public agency to issue  
          parking citations; (3) require images to be destroyed within 15  
          days after the information was obtained if it does not contain  
                                      evidence of a parking violation; and (4) allow citations to be  
          issued only for violations captured during designated hours of  
          operation for a street-sweeping parking lane.

          It should also be noted that the bill does include additional  
          provisions beyond those contained within AB 1336 (Eng, 2009),  
          including: (1) requiring any information read from a license  
          plate at a location or time not designated for street sweeping  
          to be destroyed by the close of the next business day; and (2)  
          enhancing the requirements of the report to include, among other  
          things, a summary of instances in which a photograph was  
          requested for a purpose unrelated to this bill.

          7.   Governor's veto message  

          As stated above, the Governor's veto message for AB 1336  
          expressed concern that the bill could pose a "significant risk  
          of violating an individual's privacy unrelated to the  
          enforcement of law," and that the bill "may lead to the  
          unwarranted proliferation of camera enforcement in many other  
          arenas."  Given that this bill arguably codifies a policy of  
          using cameras for enforcement in order to reduce costs - it is  
          unclear how this substantially similar bill would address  
          concerns regarding the unwarranted proliferation of camera  
          enforcement.
           
          Support  :  California Public Parking Association; California  
          State Association of Counties; City and County of San Francisco;  
          City of San Diego; City of Los Angeles; Oakland City Council;  
          League of California Cities

           Opposition  :  American Civil Liberties Union
                                                                      



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                                        HISTORY
           
           Source  :  ACS

           Related Pending Legislation  :  None Known

           Prior Legislation  :

          AB 1336 (Eng, 2009) See Background.
          AB 101 (Ma, Chapter 377, Statutes of 2007) See Background.

           Prior Vote  :

          Assembly Transportation Committee (Ayes 11, Noes 3)
          Assembly Floor (Ayes 49, Noes 24)
          Senate Transportation Committee (Ayes 7, Noes 1)

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