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11/18/2006
Texas Legislator Launches Second Bid to Ban Red Light Cameras
The Texas state legislature will again consider a measure to ban red light cameras.

Carl Isett
Texas state legislator Carl Isett (R-Lubbock) last week introduced legislation that would eliminate red light cameras from the state of Texas. A similar attempt to ban the devices introduced by Representative Gary Elkins last year passed in the state House with an overwhelming 113-23 vote only to suffer a narrow parliamentary defeat in the state Senate.

Isett's bill is a straightforward ban on "photographic traffic signal enforcement systems" enforced by the Texas attorney general. Camera systems have spread across the state at an unprecedented pace after a special legislative provision allowing municipalities to levy civil fines for criminal offenses was snuck into a larger measure in a previous session. Now twenty cities have either installed or are in the process of installing cameras, making the state second only to California in photo ticketing.

Article Excerpt:
Full text of the legislation:

H.B. No. 55

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT
relating to the power of a local authority to enforce compliance with a traffic-control signal on a highway under its jurisdiction by a photographic traffic signal enforcement system.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. The heading to Section 542.203, Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 542.203. LIMITATIONS ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
SECTION 2. Section 542.203, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subsections (d) and (e) to read as follows:

(d) A local authority may not implement or operate a photographic traffic signal enforcement system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction. The attorney general shall enforce this subsection.

(e) In this section, "photographic traffic signal enforcement system" means a system that:

(1) consists of a camera system and vehicle sensor installed to exclusively work in conjunction with an electrically operated traffic-control signal;
(2) is capable of producing one or more recorded photographic or digital images that depict the license plate attached to the front or the rear of a motor vehicle that is not operated in compliance with the instructions of the traffic-control signal; and
(3) is designed to enforce compliance with the instructions of the traffic-control signal by imposition of a civil or administrative penalty against the owner of the motor vehicle.

SECTION 3. Section 542.202(b)(3), Transportation Code, is repealed.

SECTION 4. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007.


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