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Is the Lege going back on red light cameras?

Last session, after several prior attempts to ban cities from using red light cameras, the Lege passed a bill (SB1119) that granted cities the authority to use them, with some restrictions. Via Matt Stiles, it seems one of the legislators who had made those previous attempts to ban the cameras is still at it.

A bill that would ban local authorities from using red-light cameras like this one at Bellaire and the Southwest Freeway in Houston got a key vote [Thursday] night in the Legislature.

The legislation, authored by state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, was passed out of the House urban affairs committee on the 6-5 vote.

As we’ve written before, Isett is no fan of red-light cameras. His city actually lost money with them.

The Texas Legislature Online page for HB2639 doesn’t show the committee vote, so I can’t say who did what. I’ve looked at the text of the bill, and it’s not fully clear to me what it does – it substitutes “local authority” for “municipality” as part of its wording, which distinction I don’t really understand. Be that as it may, this may make it to the House floor to a vote, but I think it’s likely to be a calendars casualty in the Senate. I just don’t get the impression that there’s enough sentiment to undo what was done last time. But you never know, so we’ll keep an eye on this.

Fun fact: Three of the four House sponsors of SB1119 are no longer in the House: Jim Murphy, the author of the House companion bill for SB11119, was defeated in November by Rep. Kristi Thibaut; Kevin Bailey was defeated in the Democratic primary by Rep. Armando Walle, who is now on the Urban Affairs committee; and Dianne Delisi retired. I can confidently state that SB1119 had nothing to do with Murphy or Bailey’s defeats, but it’ll be interesting to see how all of their replacements vote on HB2639 if it comes to the floor.

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