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Nassau County School Zone Speed Cameras Likely To Be Repealed

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The Nassau County Legislature appears poised to repeal its controversial school zone speed camera program.

Nassau County Republicans have joined Democrats in calls to repeal the law.

The Legislature was scheduled to vote on the repeal Monday, and it is expected to be unanimous, 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported.

"Just as we supported it unanimously, we will repeal it unanimously," Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Nassau Legislature said.

Nassau County School Zone Speed Cameras Likely To Be Repealed

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Nassau County Republicans sounded the death knell for school speed cameras, and introduced legislation to pull the plug after a deafening chorus of opposition.

"Coming out of church, on lines at delis, coming out of the grocery store, people were talking about it," Nassau Legislator Dennis Dunne said.

Lawmakers admitted that public outrage over the program fueled the action and blamed its failure on poor implementation, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported.

The county issued $80 speeding tickets during summer school, which Mangano later declared amnesty for, but cameras kept clicking away even in zones with no children crossing and no warning lights.

Many residents — some who said they have received multiple $80 tickets — have complained that there aren't enough signs warning drivers of speed camera locations.

"Everywhere you went ... be it a Veterans Day celebration or something else, law-abiding people really felt an unfairness about the way the program was done," Legislator Don MacKenzie said.

Nassau County School Zone Speed Cameras Likely To Be Repealed

Opposition organized on social media, and thousands labeled it a "gotcha" program designed to rake in revenue.

"We have an obligation to do what's right," said  Gonsalves.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's office released a statement Tuesday saying: "Speeding in school zones put students' lives in jeopardy. The school safety program has reduced speeding by 70%. The administration will monitor the Legislature's debate, vote and budget amendments. Regardless, we urge motorists to exercise caution in school zones and will provide further comment after the Legislature's action."

Officials plan to replace the cameras with increased police patrols, and the county will move forward with installing flashing lights in school zones.

Gonsalves said lawmakers will work to fill the $30 million budget hole left by the repeal without raising taxes.

Ned Newhouse, who helped start a Facebook group opposing the cameras, told Rivera that repealing the law would be a good first step.

"I think that we need to push for immediate dismissal of all tickets and a refund," he said.

Several legislators, however, said that a dismissal and a refund are unlikely to happen.

Last week, county officials announced the hours of enforcement for the cameras were being drastically cut back -- instead of operating from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on school days, they are now being used from 7 to 9 a.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m.

The repeal won't take effect until the county executive has signed it into law, so tickets may still be written after Monday's vote.

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