Red-light camera bill heads to Cristby Dara Kam | April 27th, 2010
A bill that would end eight years of disputes over red-light cameras is on its way to Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk.
The Senate gave final approval to the measure (HB 325) with a 30-7 vote just before noon. The House passed it last week with a 77-33 vote.
The bill would allow cities and counties to use the cameras, set fines at $158 per ticket and possibly put an end to court cases challenging local governments’ issuance of tickets without a state rule backing them up.
The proposal is Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson’s number one priority because of an accident nearly a decade ago in which several Palm Beachers were killed in an intersection collision.
Sen. Arthenia Joyner objected that the bill lets rental car drivers off the hook and “creates a double standard.”
Lawmakers have failed to pass the bill for eight years, but in the meantime dozens of cities, including several in Palm Beach County, have put the cameras into use.
Sen. Mike Bennett was the bill’s first sponsor eight years ago.
“I thought it was nuts. I didn’t want to have any part of it. In fact I offered to carry the bill so I could kill it. And that’s a fact,” said Bennett, R-Bradenton.
“It’s taken us eight years to get to the point…literally thousands of people have died because of red light camera running. We’ve got to do something,” he said.
Sen. Frederica Wilson said she had “the distinct honor of being one of the first recipients” of the tickets in her home town.
She said she’s proof the cameras make the roads safer.
“When I am approaching a red light and I used to go through cautions, etc… never, ever again,” said Wilson, D-Miami.