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Florida Senate Takes U-Turn On Red Light Cameras

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(Source: CBS)

(Source: CBS)

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TALLAHASSEE – (CBSMiami.com) – Automated red-light cameras are getting the stop sign in both house of the Florida Legislature, as  the Senate Transportation Committee voted 4-2 Tuesday to repeal the state law allowing the cameras.

The Senate action follows a similar decision last week by the Florida House Economic Affairs Committee.

The repeal bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Rene Garcia of Hialeah, would roll back a a decision in the last legislature that made the cameras legal, so long as the state got a piece of the action.

The automated cameras snap drivers as they pass through red lights, and after review, generate fines that are not traffic tickets. The proceeds are split between the municipality, the state, and the company that installs and maintains the cameras.

Since the state cleared the way for what had been a limited and legally shaky use of the cameras, they have sprung up at intersections across the state, raising the ire of motorists who feel they are unfair and possibly unconstitutional.

“I was glad to see overwhelming support to repeal red light cameras pass out of the Senate Transportation Committee today,” said Barbara Sharief, Broward County Commissioner, District 8, an opponent of the automated cameras.

“I will continue to advocate repeal of these devices as local governments continue to generate revenue from our residents and pad the pockets of a private company who has a monopoly in this state.”

Broward County has not supported the cameras, denying local governments permission to place them on county right-of-way.

Law enforcement officials statewide testified the cameras are saving lives and reducing accidents.

Those caught by the cameras face a $158 fine that becomes a ticket, with the possibility of points on your license, if a motorist protests the ticket and loses.

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