A Minnesota Senate committee has approved a plan to use automated speed enforcement cameras in four Minnesota cities for a trial run, according to KARE 11.

Senate File 2026 would allow Mendota Heights, Minneapolis and two non-metro cities (to be selected at a later date) to install the cameras as part of a pilot project.

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The program would use an automated license plate reader, placed on a law enforcement vehicle or in a stationary location, 'capable of recording data on, or taking a photograph of, a vehicle or its license plate and comparing the collected data and photographs to existing law enforcement databases for investigative purposes.'

KARE 11 says the first offense for drivers would be met with a simple warning to the owner of the vehicle. Should there be a second offense, the owner would have to choose paying a $40 fine or taking a free driver safety class.

In this system, drivers would be warned that an automated camera zone was coming up and, at the same time, the city will post the locations of all the cameras online.

Owners of vehicles will be able to petition district court to prove they weren't driving when their vehicle was recorded.

Rockford Senator Jeff Howe tells KARE that he isn't comfortable with the idea of issuing warning tickets, instead suggesting that they 'spend a day in jail.'

In 2007 the Minnesota Supreme Court found a different version of speed-cameras to be in "impermissible conflict with state law. The ordinance was in conflict with state law because it violated the requirement that Minnesota traffic regulations be uniform and it reduced the state's burden of proof in prosecuting red light violations," per the Minnesota ACLU.

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