For years now, drivers in Denver have been subject to unpopular photo radar and red light cameras enforcing traffic laws via a flash bulb and an unwelcoming letter in the mail. But it just so turns our that not all drivers are susceptible to the city’s electronic traffic surveillance; Colorado’s state legislators sporting special-issue legislative plates have been exempt. Most of you have seen these vanity-esque plates, they simply identify whether it is a State Senate or State House of Representative plate, and are stamped with the lawmaker’s respective district.
Last week the local CBS4 affiliate reported that lawmakers did not receive tickets because of a loophole in the system. Apparently, the special legislator plates are not registered with the DMV, and the City of Denver cannot obtain registration information for tags that are not in the DMV system. Since the information was not automatically available in the DMV database, the City of Denver simply did not send tickets to these lawmakers. For example, Democratic Senator Michael Johnston hasn’t paid, nor has he received,
three six speeding tickets he earned in Denver. (Note: Johnston paid $160 after being contacted by CBS4 – we’re not sure how many speeding tickets that covers)
Here’s a clever idea: look up who represents the district shown on the license plate, and send them a ticket. Could the City of Denver not use Google?
This issue has been reported on for more than a week, and this evening CBS4 reported that the authorities are still trying to figure out how to solve the “glitch.” Government work at its finest. Again, Google is truly a magical tool. When one Googles a legislator, the respective legislator’s office information pops up. Novel concept.
Meanwhile, State Representative Chris Holbert has already suggested eliminating the plates. He mentioned on Facebook that the plates create a lot of false notions such as lawmakers being exempt from registration fees or not being pulled over for moving violations. From Rep. Holbert’s Facebook page:
Since the legislator license plates don’t actually provide a benefit, I’d rather get rid of them, and I have a bill title reserved for 2014 to do just that….
…People assume that legislators aren’t pulled over for traffic infractions while using the legislator plates. That is also false, several of my colleagues have been pulled over and ticketed while using the legislator plates.
People don’t trust us and assume that the legislator plates create a double standard and some special perk or privilege. Thus, instead of fixing the data systems, let’s just do away with these silly, do nothing decorations.
Dumping these silly plates is probably not a bad idea, as we do not see any use for them whatsoever.
Rep. Holbert’s only partially accurate. Yes, the license plates are fairly useless for most, but how else would we make sure our favorite legislators are behaving themselves?