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Author Topic: SENATE BILL: Progressive Traffic Fines Act (Failed)  (Read 1393 times)
Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« on: September 19, 2012, 11:52:31 pm »
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Progressive Traffic Fines Act

1. Calculation of traffic fines throughout the Republic of Atlasia shall be determined by the following formula:
(individual's monthly income earnings) - (15% of individual's monthly income earnings) / 25.

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« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 06:53:31 am by Senator North Carolina Yankee »Logged

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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 11:53:11 pm »
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You got 24 hours blue bird, or I push the red button.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 11:54:39 pm »
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It may be a good idea, but the most I could support would a be resolution encouraging the regions to adopt such a policy. Unless I am mistaken, this is a largely regional issue and should remain as such.
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 11:57:52 pm »
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The NE has a very similar law to this, IIRC.  I'm a tad on the fence for this one, so I'm going to have to be convinced.  Generally, I believe the regions are best fitted to determine road laws.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 12:00:19 am by Senator Scott »Logged



Averroës Nix
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 12:12:24 am »
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The NE has a very similar law to this, IIRC.  I'm a tad on the fence for this one, so I'm going to have to be convinced.  Generally, I believe the regions are best fitted to determine road laws.

If I'm doing the math correctly, this bill would actually weaken the Roscoe Conkling Equity Before the Law Act, which in most cases amounts to a more progressive fine.
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HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 12:13:15 am »
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Traffic regulation is a regional issue. For that reason alone, I don't see me supporting this bill.

There will always be problems with the fine system: You have a flat value, and there's not much of a deterrence for wealthier people; you have a percentage system based on income, and unemployed people pay no fine at all. This bill would attempt to solve one problem while creating another.

It's my opinion that regions should adopt some sort of demerit point system for traffic violations. The consequences of demerit points would apply uniformally across all income groups.

As it stands, this bill is problematic on quite a few levels.
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 12:31:14 am »
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I am offering an amendment, although it is still highly unlikely I will support the bill.

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2. This law shall not be in effect for regions that opt not to adhere to it.
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Averroës Nix
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 12:55:49 am »
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There will always be problems with the fine system: You have a flat value, and there's not much of a deterrence for wealthier people; you have a percentage system based on income, and unemployed people pay no fine at all. This bill would attempt to solve one problem while creating another.

Easily resolved by setting a minimum fine.

I'm not opposed to the Senate adopting this, but I encourage allowing the regions to implement their own, more progressive legislation if they're so inclined.
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HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 02:29:00 am »
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There will always be problems with the fine system: You have a flat value, and there's not much of a deterrence for wealthier people; you have a percentage system based on income, and unemployed people pay no fine at all. This bill would attempt to solve one problem while creating another.

Easily resolved by setting a minimum fine.

Yes, but 15% means something different depending on the value of the salary it's being applied to. I have a hard time believing that a 15% fine on the lowest-wage earners would be substantial enough to deter those folks from committing a crime. So if you create a base fine for the unemployed at, say, 15% of minimum wage on a part-time work schedule, it's not going to be the looming threat that it should be.

So then do we amend the bill to create a base fine that would be higher than what I mentioned? If we did that, we'd basically just be setting the base fines at flat values near where they already are. In that case, the situation stays the same for low-wage earners and basically becomes a bitter attack on the middle class and wealthier Atlasians. Someone earning $100,000 a year would have to pay something in the neighbourhood of $1200 for running a red light... in New York, that fine is currently about $200. If you earned a million dollars a year, you'd be paying $12,000.

This isn't a tax scheme. It's a traffic ticket. A $12,000 infraction is ridiculous. This system would make policing our roads about collecting revenue instead of enforcing safety standards. I don't like it.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 02:32:22 am by HagridOfTheDeep »Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 02:35:22 am »
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So then do we amend the bill to create a base fine that would be higher than what I mentioned? If we did that, we'd basically just be setting the base fines at flat values near where they already are. In that case, the situation stays the same for low-wage earners and basically becomes a bitter attack on the middle class and wealthier Atlasians. Someone earning $100,000 a year would have to pay something in the neighbourhood of $1200 for running a red light... in New York, that fine is currently about $200. If you earned a million dollars a year, you'd be paying $12,000.

This isn't a tax scheme. It's a traffic ticket. A $12,000 infraction is ridiculous. This system would make policing our roads about collecting revenue instead of enforcing safety standards. I don't like it.

It doesn't seem unreasonable at all to expect a person earning a million dollars per year to pay that much. The purpose of the fine is to deter people from breaking the law; $200 is not a meaningful sum to most millionaires.
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HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012, 02:53:13 am »
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This is about our fundamental attitudes towards the role of policing.

Maybe you just have more faith in the uncorruptability of the system than I do. I foresee Virginia state troopers pulling over Jaguars and Cadillacs for travelling 1 mph over the speed limit because they know they'll be able to squeeze more money out of people driving luxury cars. I forsee permanent radar traps every other block in Beverly Hills. I forsee a police system that puts money before safety.

$200 may not be a meaningful sum to these millionaires, but demerit points sure would be. They'd avoid the problems that this bill would create.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 11:20:23 pm »
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Oh mercy, mercy me! Oh things ain't what they used to be. Where have all the blue....gone?

Nothing like a little soulful Marvin Gaye for inspiration. Tongue

Marokai, you have a little more than 30 minutes here.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 12:00:23 am »
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Quote from: Amendment 50:04 by Scott
2. This law shall not be in effect for regions that opt not to adhere to it.

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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 12:09:32 am »
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24 hours, no posts, no LOAs, no Marokai. I really hate this part.


I am filing a motion to table this bill.


Note, this should only be seconded if MB fails to return in a reasonable amount of time afterwards. lol, you see the PM I am going to send him.

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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 04:27:58 am »
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Yes, yes, yes, I accept the amendment as friendly.
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Marokai Besieged
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2012, 04:32:06 am »
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This isn't a tax scheme. It's a traffic ticket. A $12,000 infraction is ridiculous. This system would make policing our roads about collecting revenue instead of enforcing safety standards. I don't like it.

I understand and empathize with the objection, but I don't see how this would encourage this sort of behavior. The vast majority of people would be paying a fairly low amount, so there wouldn't really be any added incentive for law enforcement aside from doing their job normally. Someone making that much money could easily afford it; I don't see why we should be saddling people who live paycheck to paycheck with hundreds of dollars in tickets because of minor violations.

Also, I think it's a bit naive to think that we already don't consider it a revenue scheme. This would at least make the current de facto reality more fair.
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2012, 06:12:26 am »
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$200 may not be a meaningful sum to these millionaires, but demerit points sure would be. They'd avoid the problems that this bill would create.

In that case, why rely on fines at all?
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2012, 09:30:40 pm »
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Yes, yes, yes, I accept the amendment as friendly.

That isn't all you have to do.

You need to post a summary statement of advocacy for this or my motion will stand. Tongue
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2012, 10:55:07 pm »
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Quote from: Amendment 50:04 by Scott
2. This law shall not be in effect for regions that opt not to adhere to it.

Sponsor Feedback: Friendly
Status: Senators have 24 hours to object to passage of the amendment.
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2012, 11:09:28 pm »
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Not sure if this is legally sound.
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2012, 01:03:12 am »
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No offense intended to you, Scott, but I fail to see the point of passing the bill at all if regions can opt out of it at any time they please.

Either way, I concur with my colleagues: handling and enforcing roads is a regional issue, and unless we amend in some sort of cap on fines, the income scaling becomes positively ludicrous. While I don't rule anything out just yet, bearing in mind amendments, I do not see myself supporting this measure.
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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2012, 01:31:05 am »
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and unless we amend in some sort of cap on fines, the income scaling becomes positively ludicrous

Such is the nature of any progressive system..?
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Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2012, 12:52:00 pm »
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I think this may be unconstitutional under Article VI:

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...
13. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
...

You may view it as entirely just to charge millionaires $12 grand for a speeding ticket, but if that's not an excessive fine then I don't know what is.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 01:19:59 pm by Madisonian for Mittens! »Logged
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2012, 01:17:15 pm »
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No offense intended to you, Scott, but I fail to see the point of passing the bill at all if regions can opt out of it at any time they please.

Either way, I concur with my colleagues: handling and enforcing roads is a regional issue, and unless we amend in some sort of cap on fines, the income scaling becomes positively ludicrous. While I don't rule anything out just yet, bearing in mind amendments, I do not see myself supporting this measure.

I agree, but I'm not really in favor of establishing a uniform traffic fine law especially since it would affect the Northeast Region's law.  Currently, I am still leaning against this bill.

TJ brings up another good point.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 01:20:44 pm by Senator Scott »Logged



HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2012, 10:32:57 pm »
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I don't see how this would encourage this sort of behavior. The vast majority of people would be paying a fairly low amount, so there wouldn't really be any added incentive for law enforcement aside from doing their job normally.

Well, if we’re getting into the semantics, the fine wouldn’t really change too much for most folks. However, the people who would see an increase would probably see big increases. That’s where I see the added incentive for law enforcement: A couple big fines would be a huge score. Moreover, the car you drive is pretty much directly related to the amount of money you have. It wouldn’t be absurd to think that people driving certain types of cars would be pulled over more often.

I think it's a bit naive to think that we already don't consider it a revenue scheme. This would at least make the current de facto reality more fair.

Sometimes it’s abused as a revenue stream, yes. You have cops wanting to “meet quota.” From that perspective, the current scheme is actually more fair because it’s harder for cops to be discriminatory in the abuse their power—depending on the infraction, each traffic ticket carries the same fine. With differing financial penalties, certain groups of people would probably be disproportionately affected by police officers wanting to meet quota. How is that fair?

Why rely on fines at all?

States and townships and counties need to pay for the operational costs of their police services. Fines help subsidize some of these expenditures. I’d entertain the argument for abolishing fines altogether if it wasn’t for the fact that I suspect this money is needed (as I’ve said above though, it shouldn’t be “relied on” and it should be collected fairly, as a response to legitimate traffic violations).

As it stands though, fines do play a role in deterrence for, as Marokai put it, “the vast majority of people.” Does the scheme favour the rich? Sure it does. But when you’ve got enough money to be paying the big fines, losing money to those big fines isn’t going to be the end of the world anyway. The status quo seems to have the fewest drawbacks. Eliminating fines isn’t an option and implementing this bill just creates more problems.

Anyhow, I just thought I’d try to respond to some of those counterpoints. We’ve largely moved on, but better late than never.

I’m pretty firmly decided on how I’ll vote on this bill.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 10:43:09 pm by HagridOfTheDeep »Logged

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