DENVER (CBS4)– Voters in Colorado may soon have a say where red light cameras will be used. Two bills being considered by state lawmakers, one in the state House and one in the state Senate, would ask voters to give red light cameras the green light.
Sen. David Balmer believes some cities have used red light cameras responsibly, others have not.
“If the voters vote them in, then they can continue to have them. If voters say they don’t want them anymore, then they have to take them down,” Balmer, a Republican representing Centennial.
“Are we now going to start having the legislature dictate what goes on municipal ballots now? Things that they don’t like, maybe?” asked the Colorado Municipal League spokesman Mark Radtke.
Radtke said people can bring a citizens initiative if they want to ban the cameras.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has not taken a position on requiring voter approval, the former Mayor of Denver took the unusual step last week of weighing in on a bill that would eliminate traffic cameras.
In a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, Hickenlooper said, “local governments are best equipped to determine how to enforce traffic laws for their communities.”
He also urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would limit where cameras can be used and direct all fines to traffic safety rather than a city’s general operating budget.
“He appreciates local control in this. City councils are perfectly capable of making these decisions in their communities,” said Radtke.
Balmer said sometime city councils overreach.
“I suspect that in most cities if they have the vote, that they’ll be voted down. Because I have received thousands and thousands and thousands of emails from constituents who feel that red light cameras are very unfair and they’re also unconstitutional,” said Balmer.
The bill in the Senate was debated on the floor Tuesday afternoon. The bill in the House passed out of committee and will go to the House floor on Tuesday evening.