TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - This past May, in the waning days of the legislative session, House lawmakers narrowly passed a repeal of red-light cameras.
There were cheers and embraces among Cuban-American lawmakers from both parties, for whom the cameras evoked big brother memories from their communist homeland.
The bill went to the Senate where Republican State Senator Rene Garcia of Miami tried to sell the repeal to his fellow GOP lawmakers; but the legislation was dead on arrival.
“I’m still fighting it,” he said.
The session ended in May but the debate continues. Hundreds of drivers have challenged their tickets in courts claiming cities have shortened yellow lights to ticket more drivers. Some also contend that people where ticketed unjustly for turning right on red.
Collin Moore received a ticket in the mail last week, but claims he wasn’t driving. “He drove through and tried to make the yellow and it snapped a ticket.”
James Daniels says he and his cousin were in the intersection on yellow, but they still received a 158 dollar fine. “I don’t have money like this in this time that we are living in, in the recession.”
Still others, like Lanta Gallon, believe the cameras make the roads safer. “Stop at yellow lights. Don’t try to make it.”
In California, the Los Angeles City Council voted to remove the devices. They couldn’t convince more than 65-thousand drivers who received red-light tickets to pay the fines and the city had no authority to punish them if they didn’t.
At least one South Florida city, Davie, is considering repeal.
A repeal bill has yet to be filed in Tallahassee for next session, but there is plenty of time and growing support among lawmakers.
The battle pits less government Republicans against the more established GOP in Tallahassee that voted for the cameras two years ago.
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