2013 Legislative Winners and Losers: Pinellas’ Ken Burke steps up for court clerks

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Earlier this year, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke complained about the volume of work created for his office adjudicating red light running violations caught by cameras.  At one point he even called for the six cities in Pinellas County that use cameras to enforce red-light running laws to put a moratorium on issuing violations until the legislature addressed his concerns. 

And while some in Tallahassee including Miami Representative Daphne Campbell, who incidentally had received five violations of her own, pushed for repeal, cooler heads prevailed.  Burke got just what he asked for.  

By a vote of 116-1 the House followed the Senate’s 38-0 vote and supported an amendment by Senator Jeff Brandes that not only addressed Clerk Burke’s concerns, but also clarified the rules for issuing a right on red violations. 

Brandes’ amendment, adopted as part of the omnibus Florida Department of Highway Safety legislation, now allows owners of vehicles tagged with red-light running violations to transfer liability to whomever was driving their vehicle without the notice of violation immediately turning into a traffic citation and allows drivers to request a hearing to challenge an alleged violation before a citation is issued.  

These changes to the red light camera law will reduce the number of violations that turn into traffic citations, lessening the load on County Clerk’s across the state and making Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke a winner of 2013 legislative session.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.