Proposed Texas Red Light Camera Ban Gains Momentum (HB1631 & SB653)

Texans opposed to red light cameras have been let down by lawmakers in the past. This time is different, state Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) said last week after announcing he had secured a veto-proof, bipartisan majority in favor of his plan to outlaw photo ticketing in the Lone Star State.

“Obtaining these coauthors is an important first step at finally banning these intrusive and unconstitutional cameras across the state and fulfilling a demand of the people,” Stickland explained. “Needing only 76 votes to pass a bill out of the chamber, 102 joint and coauthors virtually guarantees HB1631’s passage through the House.”

Stickland does not need to worry about a veto since Governor Greg Abbott (R) campaigned on an unconditional end to the use of red light cameras. Abbott justified his stance by pointing to studies showing intersection ticketing cameras do not actually reduce accidents (view studies). It is slightly less clear whether a ban can pass the state Senate. After introducing a “ban” bill that would have actually increased the use of automated ticketing machines, state Senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) reversed course and introduced Senate Bill 653 as a loophole-free companion to the House ban.

“Notwithstanding any other law, a local authority may not implement or operate a photographic traffic signal enforcement system with respect to a highway or street under the jurisdiction of the authority,” House Bill 1631 and Senate Bill 653 state. “The attorney general shall enforce this section.”