The state supreme court struck down initiative hawker Tim Eyman's proposed initiative to ban red-light traffic enforcement cameras in his hometown of Mukilteo today.

In the 5-4 opinion, the court ruled that red-light cameras are not subject to local initiatives, and can only be put in place (or removed) by a vote of a city's city council, to which the state legislature has given authority over red-light camera laws. State law, the majority noted, stipulates that "The appropriate local legislative authority must first enact an ordinance allowing for [red light cameras'] use."

The city of Mukilteo had argued that the vote was merely "advisory"---that is, nonbinding---and not a formal initiative that enacted the camera ban as an ordinance.

In their dissent, the four-member court minority argued that because the Mukilteo's city council repealed the city's red-light camera ordinance themselves after the initiative was filed, the case was no longer relevant."The matter was appropriately and constitutionally resolved through the political process," the minority wrote.

Cities across Washington State use the cameras for traffic enforcement, including Seattle, Redmond, Wenatchee, and Lynnwood. Studies have shown that red-light cameras are effective at reducing the number of people who run red lights.
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