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May 07. 2014 8:55PM

House OKs plan for cameras to identify toll evaders

CONCORD — Vehicles going through the cash-only lanes at tollbooths will be photographed, and those not paying will receive a bill, after the House voted 252-96 Wednesday to approve the plan.

The plan is designed to address the growing problem of people telling toll attendants they do not have any cash to pay the toll. They are given a slip of paper to pay the toll, but many never do.

“A growing number of people have figured out you can get away without paying a toll using the ’no funds’ honor system,” said House Transportation Committee member Rep. George Sykes, D-Lebanon.

Under the bill, cameras in the cash only lanes at the tollbooth will take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate, which will be destroyed in three seconds if the driver pays the toll.

If the driver does not pay, the photo is retained and the person will be sent a bill for the toll. The same system is used in E-ZPass lanes.

All tollbooth lanes are equipped with cameras but state law currently forbids using the cameras at cash-only lanes.

The bill, Senate Bill 245, goes back to the Senate because it has not seen the cash lane camera system.

Pot provisions rejected

The House rejected an attempt to add provisions of bills decriminalizing marijuana and allowing patients qualifying for the state’s new medical marijuana to a Senate bill.

The Senate has refused to consider the decriminalization bill because it killed it last year, and earlier this session killed a bill to allow homegrown marijuana.

Rep. Joel Winters, D-Manchester, proposed adding the provisions to Senate Bill 327, which would extend the deadline for the economic revitalization zone tax credits program from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2020.

He noted the homegrown bill passed the House with 75 percent support and the decriminalization with 70 percent.

But opponents warned the Senate will let the bill die and add the provisions of SB 327 to another bill.

“We are in the funny season,” said Rep. Susan Almy, D-Lebanon.

The House refused to add the amendment on a 245-99 vote, before passing the bill on a 314-30 vote.

Energy bill tabled

The House decided a bill directing the Site Evaluation Committee to begin the rule making process for new guidelines for energy facility applications.

Under the new guidelines, the committee would have to consider such things as setback requirements, noise, shadow flicker, ice throw, sound, impacts on plants and wildlife, fire protection and decommissioning.

House Science, Technology and Energy Committee chairman Rep. David Borden, D-New Castle, said the bill needs additional work and asked the House to table the measure, which it did.

The bill is likely dead for this session.

Over 100 = reckless

The House approved Senate Bill 246 allowing law enforcement to charge anyone driving over 100 miles an hour with reckless driving. Some charged with three counts of reckless driving would have his or her license suspended.

The bill goes to the governor.

grayno@unionleader.com


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