DENVER (AP) – A measure to prohibit speeding and red-light cameras in Colorado was changed into a study into whether the devices are effective after several law enforcement officials urged lawmakers Monday not to pass a ban.
A House committee voted 6-5 to amend the bill to require further study of the cameras so that lawmakers can consider a ban again next year if necessary.
Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who is sponsoring the bill, opposed the amendment.
“We’ll get another study that shows it doesn’t increase public safety,” he said. Legislators opposed to the cameras insist they’re used as revenue generators. They also argue the cameras undermine drivers’ due-process rights to confront their accuser.
But law enforcement, including police chiefs, testified they’ve successfully used the devices at intersections they consider dangerous.
Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson criticized supporters of the bill as “armchair public safety rangers.”
“If you ban us from using this technology, people will die,” he warned.
The proposal still faces another committee assignment and consideration by the full House. Lawmakers can change the bill to its original form at either step.
Ten states prohibit the use of photo radar or red-light camera enforcement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In Colorado, ten cities use the traffic-enforcement cameras. If they were prohibited, they would lose a total of about $16.1 million in revenue from fines during the first year after the law took effect, according to legislative analysts who worked on the bill.
The Colorado Municipal League, which represents more than 250 communities in the state, says it should be up to cities and towns to decide the matter on their own, and that the cameras are important to public safety.
Vivian Stovall, 66, a Denver woman who crosses busy intersections in her wheelchair, testified against banning the cameras.
“I prefer not to be roadkill,” she said.
LINK: Senate Bill 181
– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this story.
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