WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Officials with the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton say that freshman Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan is seeking co-sponsors to a bill he has drafted that would only prevent D.C. from using automated traffic enforcement systems, such as red light and speed cameras. Officials say that the bill has not been introduced yet and that no other jurisdiction is listed in the bill.
"Representative Bentivolio has been in Congress barely six months, but, with this bill, has already violated his professed support for small government and local control of local affairs," Norton said in a press release on Thursday.
The congresswoman continues:
"Traffic laws here and everywhere else in the U.S. are local safety matters. In the District of Columbia, like everywhere else, local traffic laws are written by local elected officials, not members of Congress who are unaccountable to D.C. residents. If either Representative Bentivolio or his staff has received such a ticket, then they should pay it, unless he thinks that members of Congress who by law are already exempt from most ticket violations here should be excused even when public safety is at risk. Considering the major congressional issues affecting Representative Bentivolio's constituents, surely they will be concerned that he has diverted his attention and energy to trying to interfere with the local affairs of a local jurisdiction, instead of spending his time in Washington attending to the affairs of his constituents in Michigan. If Representative Bentivolio believes that automated traffic enforcement systems, which are used throughout the country, are bad public policy, why didn't he draft a bill that applies nationwide? He is singling out the District because he thinks he can. He is wrong if he thinks he can use the District for his own personal or ideological purposes. We will fight each and every congressional attack on our right to self-government, especially against congressional bullies who betray their own well-known views on federal interference in local matters by trying to use the big foot of the federal government against our local government. The revered all-American principle of local control of local matters applies to the District of Columbia as it does to all jurisdictions. If Representative Bentivolio wants to write local traffic rules, he should resign from Congress and run for local office in Michigan."
We hope to get a statement from Congressman Bentivolio's office soon. Click here for a list of legislation Rep. Bentivolio is sponsoring or co-sponsoring: http://bentivolio.house.gov/legislation/sponsored-legislation