The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would allow the Detroit public school system to hire a company to install and operate an automated traffic citation system — known as “photo cop.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 852, sponsored by Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, was passed following an unusual procedure in which it was discharged from the Senate Transportation Committee directly to the full Senate without a vote by the committee.

Senate Bill 852 would permit Detroit school buses to have cameras installed to capture images of motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus. Fines for violations would range from $300 to $1,000 depending on the number of offenses. The bill also allows the district to add a $100 late fee if the original ticket is not paid by the due date. The money would go to the Detroit public school district.

Under a constitutional “five day” rule, Tuesday is the earliest the House could take up the bill in the current lame duck-session.

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Senate Bill 852 was passed by a 34-3 vote, with the only ‘no’ votes coming from Republicans Patrick Colbeck, Tori Rocca and Jim Stamas. It has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, chaired by Rep. Ben Glardon, R-Owosso.

State law currently prohibits automated ticket writing. MCL 257.742(1) requires traffic tickets to be issued by a police officer who actually witnesses the violation.

Editor's note: This article was modified to clarify the state law on automated tickets.

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