DENVER – Colorado lawmakers voted Friday to ban red-light cameras – even though the governor is almost certain to put the brakes on their plan.
A bill approved by a House-Senate negotiating committee would ban red-light cameras statewide after this year.
The measure calls for a stricter ban than earlier versions of the bill, which could have allowed continued red-light camera use in school zones and construction zones.
The latest bill puts lawmakers on a collision course with the governor’s veto pen.
Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed two bills last year that would have banned red-light cameras, saying the photo enforcement protects public safety.
Hickenlooper suggested that lawmakers pursue red-light camera limits, but not a ban. He told lawmakers again this week to review his veto from last year.
“We know that no one is ever pleased to receive a traffic ticket,” Hickenlooper wrote. “Photo-enforcement tools may not be universally popular. But some communities feel the need to use them.”
It appears that lawmakers are unwilling to compromise on the unpopular cameras.
The statewide ban passed the conference committee 5-1 Friday, meaning it awaits only formal agreement by the full House and Senate next week before heading to the governor’s desk.
Lawmakers supporting a red-light camera ban pointed out that last year’s bill also banned photo speed enforcement, something not mentioned at all in this year’s ban. They disputed the governor’s assertion that a blanket ban on red-light cameras could endanger public safety.
“The use of red-light cameras violates people’s civil liberties and personal privacy,” said Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.
Legislative analysts say eight of the state’s most populous cities use red-light cameras – Aurora, Boulder, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree and Pueblo.