AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A bill that would ban red light cameras across the state cleared its first hurdle Wednesday.
House Bill 1631, authored by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R – Bedford), passed through the Transportation Committee and will now be voted on by the House where 102 of the 151 members have already signed on in support of the bill.
Under the bill, the more than 200 red light cameras in North Texas would have to come down by September 1st.
In past years, attempts to ban red light cameras in Texas have failed but with widespread support from lawmakers along with Governor Greg Abbott’s public support for a ban, many in Austin say this year is different.
“This has kind of hit a crescendo from the grassroots, left and right,” Stickland told the CBS 11 I-Team last month. “It’s not really Republican or Democrat. It’s about public safety and protecting people’s rights.”
While lawmakers move forward on a proposed ban, several North Texas police chiefs told the I-Team getting rid of the cameras would be a mistake.
“If removed, you are removing a tool from our ability to address health and safety needs in the community,” said Bedford Police Chief Jeff Gibson.
Several North Texas police chiefs told the I-Team the most dangerous type of accidents, T-bone collisions, have gone down at the intersections in their cities where cameras have gone up.
According to revenue records the I-Team obtained from the Texas Comptroller’s Office, in 2017 cities in North Texas collected a total of $47 million in red light camera fines.