The Texas House has voted to block all city governments in
the state from using cameras to nab red-light runners. The bill could create a
barrier for several cities in the state hoping to cash in on lawbreakers.
House lawmakers voted 113-23 on Feb. 28 to approve the ban
on red-light cameras. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
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 overwhelmingly voted not to
allow cities to use cameras to issue criminal citations to red-light violators.
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, later inserted an
amendment into a massive omnibus bill giving cities authority to regulate
transportation civilly or criminally. Shortly thereafter, it was signed into
A few 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.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, said
he expects that chamber to “look favorably” on the bill – HB259.
Gov. Rick Perry, who would have final say, isn’t taking a
position on the issue.