Texas House Tentatively Orders Cities to Stop Using Red-light Cameras to Ticket Drivers Over the Next Few Years

AUSTIN--Texas House members green-lighted legislation Tuesday night that would require cities to phase out the use of red-light cameras to issue traffic tickets over the next few years.Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland won preliminary House approval of his bill by a vote of 108-35. The measure’s Senate companion banning such devices as of this September has won committee approval but hasn't been brought up for floor debate.The cameras are used to take photos of drivers who run red lights, who are then fined $75 per violation. Legislators have tried for years to ban them, and Gov. Greg Abbott in September encouraged them to do so because he said they’re expensive and could contribute to drivers being rear-ended. The 2018 Republican Party of Texas platform also urges lawmakers to ban all photo enforcement ticket cameras including external-facing cameras on buses.Stickland, whose measure already had the backing of more than 100 of the House’s 150 members, was twice reminded by House members questioning him from a mic at the rear of the chamber that he recently resigned from the body’s far-right Freedom Caucus. Also noted: Stickland was passing his own authored legislation for the first time since joining the House in 2013.In his four terms as a House member representing Bedford, Stickland had previously not passed a bill he filed as the primary author. He’s mostly been known most as a bomb thrower, a small government libertarian infamous for killing other’s bills.But traffic systems like this have proven unpopular in many cities, where locally elected officials in a handful of municipalities have already banned the continued usage of red light cameras.Stickland initially told colleagues they were about to end what he considers an unconstitutional practice in that recipients of the tickets lack the right to confront their accusers.“I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment -- seven years,” Stickland said. “But the people of Texas have been waiting a longer time.”  Continue reading...

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