Bill Would Stymie ‘Big Brother’ and Bozeman’s Plans

By Beacon Staff

Rep. Bill Nooney, R-Missoula, is proposing a bill that would derail the city of Bozeman’s plan to install traffic cameras at its intersections. Nooney’s so-called ban on “big brother” states: “An automated enforcement system designed to detect traffic violations that is attached to a traffic control device may not be used to enforce traffic laws.”

In a Monday e-mail, the Missoula Republican argued, “We do not need the government using surveillance cameras to watch our citizens. In this day and age, there are more than enough concerns about privacy without our local police adding to them.”

If passed, it appears the legislation would kill a plan approved by the Bozeman City Commission late last year that would have allowed its police department to install traffic cameras. Once implemented, the “red-light” camera program is used to ticket motorists running red lights by catching them on film. It would be the first program of its kind in the state, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

In 2007, Beacon reporter Dan Testa looked into what appeared to be cameras near intersections at Hutton Ranch Plaza in Kalispell. They turned out to be loop detectors that simply allow traffic to move more smoothly.

“They’ve been around for a long time,” Mayor Pam Kennedy stressed at the time. “It’s not Big Brother.”

Nooney’s bill would make sure of that.

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