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Red light camera bill dies in House committee

Better luck next time.

Gone

Gone

A drive to outlaw red-light cameras in Dallas and other Texas cities has reached a red light of its own.

The House Transportation Committee on Friday voted to reject a Senate bill that would’ve gradually phased out the divisive cameras. That means the effort, opposed by police departments, is effectively dead even after passing the Senate last month with ease.

A factor that apparently weighed down the proposal was that it would’ve also prohibited the cameras that capture drivers who ignore stop signs on school buses. And some lawmakers said that time simply ran out this session to sort through those kinds of issues.

“It’s just something that needs a little bit better vetting,” said Rep. Ron Simmons, a Carrollton Republican who voted against the bill in committee. “At least on the House side, we didn’t really have enough time.”

[…]

In years past, the House had passed red-light camera bans only to see them stopped up in the Senate. So Rep. Gary Elkins, long a critic of the cameras, decided to wait this year on the Senate, rather than needlessly put the House through another heated debate.

But when the Senate finally acted this year, he found himself unable to get the measure out of a House committee.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Elkins, R-Houston.

See here for the background. Remember the motto o the Legislature: It is designed not to pass bills, but stop them from passing. Those of you that oppose cameras will have to continue to vote them out of cities that have adopted them; as the story notes, that happened in Arlington this month. Beyond that, try again in 2017.

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7 Comments

  1. The for-profit red light camera companies only have to “get to” or effectively “buy” a few votes in a key committee to block a bill from getting to the floor of a state House or Senate. This blockage prevents a full vote by that legislative body, a full vote that is VERY likely to pass due to the high level of backlash against the cameras from voters.

    This despicable tactic by the red light camera companies has blocked full votes in Iowa, Ohio, Texas and other states. It will continue to be effective until enough voters contact enough state legislators and say ENOUGH.

    In public votes, red light and/or speed cameras have lost 33 of 36 votes so far. Most people DESPISE the money grab hanging bandit cameras – AND the politicians that support them. Given a chance to vote, citizens say NO to being robbed by the hanging bandits.

    If you hate the cameras, get involved. Talk to local and state politicians. Write anti-camera letters to the papers. Hold public protests. Pack local council meetings to demand the cameras be taken down. Get honorable people to run for office that pledge to end the scams of ticket cameras.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  2. Ross says:

    How about if we actually like the cameras, and think that, properly employed, they are a great tool to keep the idiot red light runners from continuing to try to kill the rest of us?

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Ross, wait until you get caught at one of these cameras while driving in an unfamiliar area. As soon as you either get a ticket, or get rear ended while making a panic stop to avoid a ticket, you’ll understand why people are against these camera bandits.

    The reason they keep losing when the people actually get to vote on them, as Houston did is, they are victims of their own success. Sure, some folks think, great, they will catch other people, it won’t cost me anything, yes, let’s hang cameras everywhere. Then they themselves get harassed for money because of the cameras and figure out that it wasn’t just the other guys who got taken for a ride.

  4. […] here and here for the background. You’d think by now I’d have considered that possibility […]

  5. Steven Houston says:

    I think of the red light cameras as a tool that can be best used in a myriad of ways but in places like Houston, too many saw them as a money grab (and too many in politics saw them as a means to an end to make money on easy targets). Thus the voters spoke to remove them which is what “local control” is all about.

    That a state legislature so hell bent on screaming “local control” for months keeps proving it only pays lip service while passing bills to remove local control (fracking, red light cameras, and numerous others) is just a sign of the times.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    @ Steven:

    The way I look at top down government edicts is this: if the edict is a win for the individual citizen, I’m for it. If it is a win for more nanny state government, I’m against it. So booting the one armed camera bandits, I’m good with that. It eliminates a small slice of government tyranny from the yoke of motorists. As to the fracking thing, I have mixed feelings. I certainly understand the NIMBY concept and have some sympathy for towns that vote to ban it.

  7. Steven Houston says:

    Bill, as Kuff (and others) routinely point out, the devil is in the details. Red Light cameras do NOT burden the average citizen in the slightest, they target jerks that run red lights which is a leading cause of major accidents. Had the city FIRST worked on changing the timing of the lights to an optimal number for safety, and then applied a countdown model as well as other safety enhancing changes (better signage for example), it would have benefited all of us.

    Instead, city engineers made minimal changes and allowed the system to become just enough of a cash cow that the conspiracy theorists gathered en masse to vote them away. Catering to law breakers that run red lights or going with specious arguments like “they caused more accidents” when the truth is, a second red light runner naturally assumed the first would keep going when they instead stopped given the speeds. Otherwise, I don’t think I trust city statistics any more than I trust politicians given the usual flaws in data gathering, interpretation, and exhibited desire for a particular outcome muddying the waters. TTI had plenty to say when asked as well as the expertise to back it up but they were not under the control of the Bill White’s or Annise Parker’s of the world so they were not to be trusted.

    So with the cameras, there ARE societal benefits the vast majority can enjoy when the machines are properly used. With something like fracking, the potential for the process to permanently and irrevocably destroy the land in the surrounding area is high enough that allowing it to take place in a community setting is risky at best. Texas and some other states cater to big business, especially big oil, for all the usual reasons hence the general public welfare is not the primary concern, nor are platitudes about “local control”.