A bill that would install cameras along the highway with optical lenses capable of running plate numbers in a national database was passed Monday by the Rhode Island House.
The purpose of these cameras would be to capture uninsured motorists from any state and fine them as high as $120, which would be split between the state and the contractor in charge of upkeep of the cameras.
Republican Minority Whip Blake Filippi expressed concerns over this expansion of the surveillance state, citing George Orwell’s 1984. Rep. Robert Jacquard, who sponsored the bill and was only one to speak in support of it during the vote, diminished these concerns by stating “It’s no different than a red light camera. It’s just looking for a different violation.”
The bill was opposed the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will decide soon to move forward with the bill or reject it. Should they vote to pass it, the new cameras would go into effect January 2018.