January and February are the heart of activity for many state legislative sessions across the country. Red-light cameras (RLCs) have certainly been the focus in a number of states. Bills in Colorado, Florida and Illinois are calling for outright bans. Legislators in Texas want to ban new camera programs while allowing existing installations to finish out their current contracts. A bill introduced in Hawaii goes the other way, allowing more counties to start their own red-light camera programs. The bill sponsors are even kind enough to insist that the jurisdictions that add cameras be awarded their share — we almost said “their fair share” but that would be an oxymoron we’d never live down — of the ticket revenue.
For weekly information about automated traffic enforcement, check out the NMA Blog ATE Racket Report every Monday and visit the NMA’s ATE Racket Report Facebook Page and click “like” to expand its popularity.
As of this past week, here are the red-light camera bills introduced in the current legislative sessions. (An H or A in the prefix of a bill number indicates it is filed in the state House or Assembly. Likewise, an S means the bill is in the Senate.)
In the 2017 session, a camera ban bill passed both chambers of the state legislature but was vetoed by then Governor John Hickenlooper. This year, HB1099 has been introduced and if passed would prohibit any city, county, or municipality in Colorado from using RLCs to issue citations. The bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Local Government Committee but it’s not currently scheduled for discussion. With vocal participation by Colorado citizens, this should be the year RLCs are banned from the state.
SB422 would initiate a study of the implementation of red-light cameras to “improve traffic safety.” This bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Transportation.
In mid-January, the bill HB6003 to ban red-light cameras passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee 12 to 1. HB6003 is similar to bills in previous sessions to repeal RLCs that have sailed through the House and died in the Senate. The proposed legislation will next be considered in the House Appropriations Committee.
Florida currently has 49 cities, towns and counties using the policing-for-profit devices. Tickets are $158 each with $75 going to the cities that issued the violation notices and the rest to the state. If RLCs programs are prohibited, the State of Florida would see a $65 million dollar reduction in general fund revenue and an additional loss of $14 million in revenue that is earmarked for silos such as the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund.
Here are some additional articles, editorials and reports from Florida in the past month:
- Florida Studies Find No Significant Reduction In Accidents From Red Light Cameras
- Filed Florida bill to ban red light cameras statewide could affect local area
- Red-light cameras: Let the people decide | Commentary
HB187 and SB169 have been introduced in the state legislature and if passed would expand red-light camera use in the state. Here is the and here is the alert that was sent out to Hawaii members with additional details on the committees to contact. Both bills have been referred to their respective Transportation Committees.
Two bills have been filed in Springfield to ban RLCs:
HB322 if enacted would prohibit new cameras from being added and force the removal of existing installations in the following non-home rule municipality counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will. Here is the NMA tracking page for the bill. HB322 has been assigned to the Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee this past week.
Another bill, HB323, has also been introduced that would ban RLCs statewide regardless of home rule powers. The bill would strip from the state’s vehicle code the authorization to deploy RLCs and bar cities from enforcing violations issued using existing devices. HB323 has also been assigned to the Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee this past week.
IllinoisPolicy.org has a petition to Ban RLCs. Click here to participate.
Two more bills have also been introduced in Illinois with regards to automated traffic enforcement that wouldn’t eliminate the cameras.
HB326 if passed would require that the state DOT conduct a study evaluating automated traffic enforcement systems. The agency would also be required to file a report with the General Assembly on or before December 31, 2019. This bill is currently assigned to the House Transportation Committee.
HB1619 would require that all net proceeds accrued from automatic traffic systems be expended for transportation purposes only. This does not apply to any home rule unit of government. This bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
HSB36 would regulate the use of automated traffic law enforcement systems, providing penalties, and including applicability provisions. This includes red-light cameras. HB36 has been assigned to a subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee.
SB111 would not allow any kind of automated traffic enforcement if passed. This includes red-light cameras. The bill has been referred to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.
A4454 and S2893 would prohibit the state from disclosing New Jersey driver’s license holders’ personal information to other states seeking to issue speed camera or red light camera citations. A4454 has been referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. S2893 has been assigned to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
AB204 relates to notification requirements for traffic-control signal photo violation-monitoring devices and photo speed violation monitoring systems. This does not ban automated traffic cameras and does include red-light cameras. This bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee.
The legislature in the Lone Star State meets every two years and as part of his recent reelection campaign, Governor Greg Abbott declared that he opposed red-light cameras. He stated in a campaign statement that the devices are costly, ineffective, and he has issues with the constitutionality and transparency of the devices.
There are currently six bills in the Texas Legislature concerning RLCs.
Filed just this week, SB653 outright bans automated traffic enforcement including RLCs. The bill has no committee assignment as yet. Here is the advocates’ logo fighting to ban the cams.
Before the session began, SB77 and HB262 were filed but would only ban new cities and other municipalities from using RLCs to issue citations. Cities that have current programs would be allowed to continue operations until their camera-company contracts expire. SB77 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. HB262 has not yet been referred to a committee.
In November, TheNewspaper.com had a scathing report on HB262, which if passed would allow cities to keep running RLCs if and when the devices are banned because cities could be grandfathered in, sometimes with long contracts.
HB537 would still allow the devices but better regulate them by requiring that cities conduct an independent engineering study at least once every five years after program implementation. Cities are currently required to conduct a study before cameras are installed but oversight has been lax which is why there are a number of court cases challenging the legality of the programs. This bill has not yet been referred to a committee.
HB901 has a different take on the RLC’s by preventing the state from withholding auto registration renewal if the vehicle owner is delinquent in paying fines. SB459 is the Senate version of HB901. Neither bill bans RLCs and have yet to be referred to a committee.
Here is an excellent and recent Texas Editorial on RLCs: Why I just joined the growing Red Light Camera Contempt Club.
The Texas Supreme Court might soon weigh into the discussion of red-light cameras. Justices heard the first of three cases in November concerning the legality of RLCs in the Lone Star State. Check out one Texas activist’s account of the proceedings.
HB2465 requires that localities conduct engineering safety analyses and monthly evaluations of red-light cameras with the information to be posted to locality’s website, if there is a website available. The House passed the bill on January 31st. It has now been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Local Government.
If you know of other bills in your state legislature that pertain to automated traffic enforcement or any other motorist issue, contact us at [email protected] with the state, bill name and number. Thank you for your support.