Over the weekend, the Fargo Forum’s editorial board applauded the Fargo City Commission’s decision to double fines for a slate traffic violations.

This change in policy was enabled by the Legislature through SB2304 (introduced by Senator Erin Oban, a Democrat from Bismarck), which ended a long-standing legal prohibition on local fines exceeding state fines. Local governments now have the authority to charge up to 100 percent more than the state’s penalty.

If this were merely a question of public safety, I would be on board with Fargo’s decision. Our state’s traffic fines are so low they’re no longer serving as the deterrent to unsafe driving they’re intended to be. If we’re going to have traffic laws on the books, they should be effective. Our fines are so low the laws aren’t as effective as they should be.

“Fargo speeders have been getting a bargain for years,” the Forum writes, and they’re right. The bargain should end. But what SB2304 allows is hugely problematic.

Click here to continue reading Rob Port's Say Anything blog.