As we come to mid-month, more news from Austin on all of the action to stop or slow the spread of the disease known as red light cameras.
Two more bills have been filed, House Bill 1570, and Senate Bill 195. House Bill 1570 is identical to the previously discussed Senate Bill 125, requiring that the revenue be directed towards a designated Trauma Facility. If both pass their respective chambers, it would hold promise for the bill to make it to Governor Perry’s desk.
Senate Bill 195 takes a radically different approach from the other bills proposed and looks back to the 78th legislative session. It repeals a section of the state transportation code that was enacted in 2003. The earlier changes eliminated the requirement that red light runners be served the criminal citation in person by the citing officer, allowing for the offense to be ticketed with a civil citation – bypassing the requirement of being served by the officer. The new bill repeals that change, making all red light cameras illegal in the state.
So, by my scorecard, here’s the bills that are in the legislature as we speak:
- 3 bills prohibiting cameras on state highways
- 2 bills requiring revenue to go to trauma facilities
- 1 bill requiring minimum light change intervals at camera enforced intersections
- 1 bill setting standard signage requirements
- 1 bill repealing the previous legislatures authorizing change
Now, for some good news. The Senate Transportation and Homeland Security committee is planning a hearing February 21 in Austin, and both Senate Bill 125 and Senate Bill 195 are on the agenda. No hearings have been scheduled with the House Urban Affairs committee for the six on their agenda.
I will continue to support all of these bills, and strongly support Senate Bill 195, since it clearly removes the right to use cameras – while the others just restrict their usage.
As soon as I can get a transcript of the upcoming hearing, I will post a commentary. For those of you reading this after my post in the Chronicle’s City Hall blog, I hope to have some more insight into the flawed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s report on cameras posted here later this weekend.