Red light cameras apparently have green light-- but no standards
This aticle first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2009 - It was a waiting game for hours Thursday night as legislative conferees sought to break the long-standing Senate logjam over SB386, the government omnibus bill.
But the word behind-the-scenes is that conferees apparently tossed out House provisions aimed at curbing or regulating the use of red light cameras at intersections.
Although courts, including the 7th Circuit, have ruled so far that the cameras are constitutional, some Senate conferees apparently believe that courts will eventually rule otherwise -- thus negating the need for the House provisions.
However, some proponents of the cameras had been working lately to get some uniform standards through the Legislature in order to quell some of the public controversy and divisions among some law enforcement groups. Such standards might make the cameras more attractive to some communities, by deflecting any public angst over their use.
The compromise had been the work of a number of legislators and others, led by state Rep. Brian Yates, R-Lee’s Summit, and had some bipartisan support.
Earlier on this session, there had been a move among some -- notably, state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay -- to ban or severely regulate the cameras, which are used by about 30 communities around the state, including several in the St. Louis area. The Senate Transportation Committee overwhelmingly rejected a ban.