On Monday, April 27, the House Urban Affairs Committee approved H.B. 2639 by Rep. Carl Isett (R-Lubbock). The bill would prohibit cities from operating photographic traffic enforcement cameras for red light violations, speeding, or any other traffic violations. The committee vote on the bill, which occurred four days prior, was a close 6-5 in favor of banning cameras.

Strangely, the bill emerged from the committee without any kind of state fiscal note attached to it. This is despite the fact that 50 percent of fine revenue from camera operations is diverted by current law to the state for regional trauma funding. While the explanation of the bill’s fiscal note is confusing, it appears to be based at least in part on the fact that the legislature forgot to actually appropriate the state’s share of the money during the 2007 legislative session. This misleading lack of a negative fiscal note undoubtedly helped the bill pass the committee.

Cities that use red light cameras, or are considering doing so, should contact their House members and urge them vote against H.B. 2639. City officials should point out that cameras fund regional trauma hospitals and that this funding source would end if cameras are banned.

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