Senate committee postpones red-light camera repeal vote

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A Senate committee became a speed bump in the push to repeal Florida’s red-light camera laws.

The bill reached the Transportation Committee with only 10 minutes left in the meeting, and a variety of speakers from across the state waiting to talk on both sides of the issue. Committee chair Jeff Brandes, sponsor of SB 144, decided to postpone the vote on until next Wednesday.

Neither the Senate red light motion nor the House version (HB 4009) has yet to be voted on by committees so far this term.

“We’ll have a full vetting of this issue, and it will allow us to have an actual vote on the bill,” Brandes said about next week’s hearing. According to Brandes, the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010, the state’s primary red-light camera resolution, hasn’t improved safety, adding that local governments are only using the program to pad budgets.

Opposing the proposal are the Florida League of Cities, the city of Orlando, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

Speakers scheduled to speak out against the bill include Melbourne Motorists Association, the Tea Party Network and the Liberty First Network.

Most of Thursday’s meeting was to address a couple of bills by Sen. Jack Latvala: SB 132 would create new specialty license plates for the Florida Sheriffs Association and Fallen Law Enforcement Officers. SB 1048 would change the way the Florida Department of Transportation makes money off wireless communications facilities on DOT-owned land while revising rules for outdoor advertising.

The committee passed both bills unanimously.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.