AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday, the Texas Senate passed a House bill to eventually phase out and ban red light cameras, making no changes.
Earlier this month, the House had passed House Bill 1631 by Bedford Representative Jonathan Stickland with a vote of 109-34.
The bill requires cities and counties that are able to get out of their contracts with red light camera vendors to do so. Stickland said there are less than five cities in Texas that are unable to get out of their contracts early.
Lawmakers who want to ban the cameras say they're unconstitutional and place the burden of proving innocence on the driver, which is not how the American criminal justice system works. And Stickland said the cameras don't stop drivers from running red lights.
During the debate, Representative Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth) urged his colleagues not to pass the bill and said the reason the legislature voted to allow red light cameras in the first place was to help stop T-bone collisions.
"If you have any question about this vote and whether or not your vote is going to contribute towards another death, make no mistake, because that's exactly what you're about to do," said Romero.
But Stickland disagrees.
"In studies that we looked at, there are a number of different ways you can cut down T-bone accidents without infringing on people's constitutional rights," said Stickland.
"The City of Austin has a great program that they implemented that tracks a car as its entering, the speed, and then calculates whether they're going to run the red light or not and adjusts the timer for everyone else," he added.
The bill now heads to Governor Greg Abbott's office. Gov. Abbott has publicly stated he supports getting rid of red light cameras.
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