Scott signs bill giving red-light runners more push-backby John Kennedy | June 12th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Wednesday a measure that should give red-light cameras runners more incentive to challenge their tickets.
The legislation (HB 7125) requires counties, cities and towns with red-light cameras to designate a local hearing officer, similar to a code enforcement magistrate, by July 1 to review appeals.
The bill, part of a 226-page transportation package, also includes a provision that will make it more difficult for local governments to issue red-light tickets to drivers caught on camera taking a right on red.
It prevents governments from issuing a fine as long as the vehicle came to a stop, even after crossing the stop line, prior to completing an allowed right turn during a red light.
Under the current law, motorists have 30 days to pay the $158 fine for a red-light camera ticket. They cannot file a challenge until that 30-day period ends, when the potential fine climbs to $264 and they can appeal in court.
Another bill (HB 347) Scott signed Wednesday will allow craft liquor distillers to sell up to two bottles of their products directly to visitors walking into their stores for tours and tastings. Brew pubs and wineries in Florida already are allowed a similar exemption to the tough system of alcohol sales that has been defended for decades by the state’s powerful lobby representing alcoholic beverage distributors.
Scott also vetoed legislation (SB 1420) that allowed doctors at Department of Children and Families (DCF) facilities to involuntarily keep patients on psychotherapeutic medications if they were considered to lack informed decision-making capacity regarding treatment.
Scott said he was troubled by a provision of the bill that shortens from five- to three-years the timeframe where criminal charges could be dismissed against an offender considered mentally incompetent to go to trial for an attempted violent felony. Scott said it wouild pose a “serious public safety risk.”
Bill Eddins, president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said, “While some elements of the bill were worthy, reducing the time before charges against individuals deemed incompetent are dropped offends the rights of those who have been victims of crimes.”