A bill blocking all city governments in Texas from using
cameras to nab red-light runners has passed a House committee. The bill could
create a barrier for several cities in the state hoping to cash in on
The House Urban Affairs Committee voted 4-2 on Feb. 15 to
send the red-light camera bill to the full House.
Under Texas law, running a red light is a Class C
misdemeanor that can be regulated only by the state, even though local
governments are in charge of enforcement. In 2003, the House voted 103-34 not
to allow cities to use cameras to issue criminal citations to red-light
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, later inserted an
amendment onto a massive omnibus bill giving cities authority to regulate
transportation civilly or criminally. Shortly thereafter, it was signed into
Less than four months later, Garland, TX, set up its first
cameras. The city has taken in $600,000 from about 4,200 civil violations since
it began its “SafeLight” program, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Cities including Houston, Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Irving and
Lubbock all are strongly considering the installation of their own red-light
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, would
eliminate the civil loophole.
HB259 now must clear the House Calendars Committee before
moving on to the full House, where it is expected to pass.