An effort in the Alabama House to allow police to install
cameras at traffic lights to catch those running red lights may be dead.
The House Public Safety Committee delayed action on the
bill March 9 and instead opted to ship the measure off to a subcommittee.
Referral to a subcommittee usually means a bill is tabled for the session, the Montgomery
“It just got trash-canned,” Rep. David Grimes,
R-Montgomery, said after his bill – HB428 – was rerouted.
The decision by panel chairman Rep. Thad McClammy,
D-Montgomery, followed a public hearing. During that hearing, it didn’t take
long for members to express concerns about how the cameras might affect the
privacy of innocent people in vehicles.
During the playing of a short video produced by the city
of Tuscaloosa in support of the bill, a title flashed across the screen that
read: “This is not a revenue source.” According to the Advertiser, that
drew audible laughter.
Later, Rep. Albert Hall, D-Gurley, questioned supporters
of the bill about why they wouldn’t allow revenue from the tickets to be turned
over to the state General Fund budget instead of going for municipal use if
cities were truly interested in photo enforcement of red lights only as a
Grimes told the committee the maximum fine in the bill had
been reduced from $250 to $100 to ease concern that the measure is a moneymaker
Other late amendments to the bill, distributed during the
hearing, included exempting owners of stolen vehicles from paying fines if
their vehicles were used to run a red light; using yellow light intervals that
meet times outlined in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
handbook; and posting signs alerting drivers to the cameras use at affected
McClammy said later those last-minute add-ons were part of
the reason a vote on the bill got delayed.
Hall said his subcommittee would consider the bill and
return it to the full committee before the end of the session in May.
Grimes says he now plans to work to help pass a similar
bill – SB200 – pending in the Senate.