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Red-Light Cameras Won’t Be Repealed This Year, But Restrictions on Profits May Yet Pass

| March 27, 2014

Despised as they may be, red-light cameras have powerful lobbies behind them, and are not going anywhere, for now. (James Morris)

Despised as they may be, red-light cameras have powerful lobbies behind them, and are not going anywhere, for now. (James Morris)

Red-light cameras won’t be turned off in Florida this year.

Without enough votes lined up, Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes put the brakes on a bill (SB 144) that focused on repealing the state’s red-light camera law. Instead, he proposed changes to increase regulations on the use of the devices.

But Brandes’ Transportation Committee on Wednesday didn’t act on the proposed changes, deciding to postpone a vote on his rewritten bill.

“That shows you the power of this (red light camera) industry,” said Brandes who maintained his opposition to the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010, the state’s red-light camera law, after the postponement.

“What you’re seeing is municipalities that have become addicted to the funds, and in many of these cities it’s not about safety,” Brandes added. “It’s become a backdoor tax increase.”

While moving away from a repeal, Brandes proposed changes that would allow new cameras at intersections but only if their use is justified through traffic engineering studies — a requirement that is included in a House bill. Also, money generated from red-light camera tickets would have to be used for traffic safety improvements, and jurisdictions wouldn’t be able to use the cameras if they fail to provide annual camera-enforcement reports to the state.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat who made a motion Wednesday for postponement, said the delay will give committee members “time to step back and take a better look at” the proposed changes.

“I’m not sure they were listening to me,” Clemens said of the support he got for the delay. “I think we’re just doing what was best at this point.”

Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, views the cameras as simply a revenue generator for local communities. But he acknowledged that there isn’t an enough support in the Senate to repeal the cameras. That was evident Wednesday when he couldn’t get his own committee to approve three amendments to his rewritten bill.

“Clearly if I don’t have the votes to adopt simple amendments that are common sense, such as standardizing turns throughout the state of Florida, clearly you would see that the broader issue was not long for this world,” Brandes said.

Two of the amendments failed on 4-4 partly line votes, with Republican Senators Greg Evers of Baker and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami absent.

One of those amendments, opposed by the Florida Police Chiefs Association and Florida Sheriffs Association, would have allowed motorists to employ a “rolling stop” at speeds up to 15 mph when taking a right-on-red turns if no pedestrians were in the crosswalk at camera-monitored intersections.


The committee also rejected, by a 5-3 vote, an amendment that would have required only warnings to be issued to owners of vehicles caught on camera going through traffic signals 0.5 seconds after the colors changed from yellow to red.

Brandes said he might reintroduce the amendments when the bill returns next week.

Groups such as the Florida League of Cities have opposed Brandes’ bill and similar attempts in the House to dramatically change red-light camera programs. Those groups contend the cameras are a public safety tool. Across Florida, at least 77 county and city governments operate red-light camera programs, including Palm Coast, which has the highest camera-to-population ratio in the state.

Rep. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican who is an outspoken critic of the cameras, changed a House bill (HB 7005) on Monday as it went successfully before the House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Previously, Artiles sought to ban new cameras from going up and wanted to reduce the fines. But the revised House bill would not go as far, calling for steps such as requiring traffic-engineering studies to justify the need for new cameras.

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16 Responses for “Red-Light Cameras Won’t Be Repealed This Year, But Restrictions on Profits May Yet Pass”

  1. wsh302@msn.com says:

    and not one politician admitted that these back door taxes, over 50% of them, taxes/fines goes to Tallahassee

  2. Because says:

    We need lots of ideas on how to fight these red light cameras. Maybe big flashing signs on the right of ways warning “red light trap ahead” and “don’t make ANY turns on red”. Or groups of people holding signs. If they didn’t make one cent on the cameras, what would happen? Looks like we can’t count on the powers that be, so maybe take matters into our own hands. Maybe, some meetings to come up with ideas?

  3. Crusty Old Salt says:

    Flagler Live, did you miss adding the word “the highest” in the below quote? Want to make sure every reader is aware of the money grabbing scenario we have here in PC.

    ” Across Florida, at least 77 county and city governments operate red-light camera programs, including Palm Coast, which has camera-to-population ratio in the state.”

    [Thank you for catching that error.–FL]

  4. Pay Back says:

    Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes put the brakes on a bill (SB 144) that focused on repealing the state‚Äôs red-light camera law……..Well guess what Chairman Jeff Brandes, We the People will remember you doing this come election time…..Bye Bye !!!

  5. Rob says:

    What could it be that made Rep. Frank Artiles do an about face?
    Two guesses and one doesn’t count. The word begins with M and ends in Y.

    Here in Palm Coast we have to get those petitions signed. So folks, get up off the couch, download the petition and sign it correctly.

    • Bob S. says:

      Rob I have quite a few of them where can I drop them off as I don’t want to pay all that postage.

      • Rob says:

        @Bob S

        I carried mine to the shipping location that rents UHauls. The man behind the counter took it and placed it into the mail box.

        Safe Ship
        226A St Joe Plaza Just Off Palm Coast Parkway Belle Terre in the area of Ace Hardware.

    • Bob S. says:

      Like THEY say Money TALKS and bull s..T WALKS SO pLEASE folks VotE aLL tHE ICUMBentS out RemEMber THe Fish Stinks from the Head Down.

  6. Genie says:

    There is something we can do here locally. We can vote our City Council out of office and get rid of these cameras ourselves.

    Any candidates out there wanting to take this issue on?

  7. These blocks to repealing the red light camera law, or making many meaningful changes to reduce the money grab ticketing of safe drivers for revenue, shows how many Florida state legislators have been “purchased” by the camera companies.

    Dollars are winning out over safety, fairness, justice, due process, etc.

    A lot more Florida residents have to get a lot madder and a lot more active in contacting state and local elected officials to demand an end to all the money grab red light cameras. They are a scam that needs to be ended permanently by law.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  8. Ben Dover says:

    just goes to prove the state is as greedy as our city counsel , they didn`t want to give up the money either , even though they know our counsels grossly abused their purpose by litterng every corner with the pieces of garbage, this is one filthy state , and Scott is the Scum that leads by example, time to flush them all down the toilet come election day , but something tells me that day will be as crooked and dirty as they are.

    • Genie says:

      @ Ben: We’re going to have to get more than just 10% out to vote if we want to see things run fairly in this town. That’s the sad fact of life in Palm Coast. Not enough people give a damn.

  9. General Elector says:

    Looks like the tide is turning against these profit machine cameras. Keep those petitions coming. Lets finish the job.

    Do you want to get rid of the Red Light Cameras?
    Please print and sign the petition to End Palm Coasts Red Light Cameras!
    Just:

    1. Follow the link below & Print it
    Please print extra copies for your friends who are registered Palm Coast voters.
    If you get 5 or more signed. We will pick them up.
    2. Fill it out
    3. Mail it to us at:
    General Elector
    226A St. Joe Plaza Drive
    PMB 107
    Palm Coast, FL 32164

    http://www.generalelector.org/petition.pdf

    Join us in the effort to remove them at the link below:

    https://www.facebook.com/endpalmcoastredlightcameras

    • Anonymous says:

      General Elector, What can the residents of Bunnell do to help? We can’t sign your petition as we do not vote in Palm Coast elections. We have to deal with the Palm Coast red light cameras on S.R. 100 to shop even though Bunnell and Flagler Beach do not have red light cameras. Bunnell and Flagler Beach have the misfortune of sharing S.R. 100(East) with Palm Coast. We have no representation(taxation without representation) in this matter. I have written to Senator Thrasher, Rep Travis Hutson, and Brandes.

  10. Stephen says:

    NOTE on HB 7005 a amendment was added that would DENY YOUR RIGHT TO A COURT WITH A JUDGE.

    http://banthecams.org/index.php/articles/read-light-camera/5379-fl-house-committee-amends-hb-7005-to-deny-your-day-in-court-only-rlc-vendortown-kangaroo-hear

    ANY REAL RLC REFORM NEEDS THE FOLLOWING:

    1. OUTLAW ALL RIGHT TURN on Red RLC tickets. EVERY TOWN HAS THEIR OWN “defintion”. In some towns a REAL judge will look at the law and will throw out the right turns, but the CITY EMPLOYEE “hearing” officer just rubberstamps “guilty” no matter what. Lastest article on this: http://banthecams.org/index.php/articles/read-light-camera/5255-right-turn-on-red-scam-fl-every-town-has-different-qinterpretationq or http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/02/26/some-cities-take-red-light-runners-for-a-ride/ I
    2. Longer AMBER. ONE ADDED SECOND OF YELLOW TO ALL RLC INTERSECTIONS. In the state of Georgia HB 77 by then Rep Loudermilk, stopped so many ‘violations”, many towns there DROPPED RLC!
    3. REPEAL the “hearing” officer CITY EMPLOYEE. These “hearings” are NOTHING MORE THAN A RUBBER STAMP OF THE RLC ticket. Hearing = guilty EVEN IF INNOCENT OR JUSTIFIED. Go ask these citizens who were UNDER MEDIcAL DURESS and still the “ticket” was “upheld’. EVEN A JUDGE STATED THAT HE WOULD HAVE DISMISSED THE “ticket”. http://banthecams.org/index.php/articles/read-light-camera/5378-miami-judge-says-hed-have-dismissed-ticket-from-hospital-red-light-camera or http://watchdog.org/133741/judge-dismissed-ticket/

    http://www.motorists.org
    http://www.banthecams.org
    camerfraud on Facebook

  11. Enough says:

    Former Gov. Charlie Crist signed HB 325 which authorized cities to use Red Light Cameras back in 2010.

    AAA had urged the governor to veto the bill, saying that increases the incentive for cities to use them to generate revenue more than protect the public.

    Read more here:
    http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/05/crist-signs-bill-legalizing-red-light-cameras.html#storylink=cpy

    Web Link Reference:
    Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/05/crist-signs-bill-legalizing-red-light-cameras.html#storylink=cpy

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