Earlier this year, Texas passed legislation designed to regulate the use of red-light cameras in the state. The intention of the legislation was to lessen the incentive for cities to use the ticket cameras as revenue generators. A major reason that the bill was able to get through the legislature was the requirement that cities give 50% of their ticket camera revenue to trauma centers across the state.
However, a Houston City Council Member, M.J. Kahn, discovered that the legislature never followed through on their promise to give the funds to trauma centers and is instead dumping the money into the general fund.
Money put into the general fund can be spent in a number of places and may even be funneled back to the cities by the state. The real victim in this situation are the trauma centers in Texas who were counting on these extra funds. Whether this was intentional or just sloppy work by the State Appropriations Committees remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the law is not being properly implemented.