Bill to ban all red light cameras in Illinois moves out of House Rules Committee

A bill to ban all red-light cameras in the state could advance in Springfield.

Last week, state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, got House Bill 322 passed in the House with bipartisan support. That measure would ban red-light cameras in non-home rule municipalities, or municipalities with fewer than 25,000 residents. He also lifted a procedural hold called a “motion to reconsider” and said he expects it to soon be sent to the Illinois Senate.

Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole said the bill was shortsighted.

“Studies have shown red light cameras do improve safety at these dangerous intersections,” Cole said. “Then the legislature is saying it’s OK to have unsafe intersections in non-home rule communities, but they want safe intersection in home-rule communities.”

McSweeney said the Illinois Municipal League “can run but you can’t hide” from what he called a regressive tax.

“It’s hitting low-income people,” McSweeney said. “I am fighting to ban all red-light cameras. I’m glad I was able to pass a bill to get rid of 45 percent of the municipalities that have them.”

On Tuesday, he said he got an update on House Bill 323, which would ban all red-light cameras in Illinois.

“My bill to ban all red-light cameras made it out of the [House] Rules Committee,” McSweeney said. “So I can’t call it today. I hope to call it in the next few weeks.”

House Bill 323 was assigned to the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee. A hearing date for the bill has yet to be scheduled.

When the partial ban passed the House last week, some opponents said they wanted to see a full ban. McSweeney said once the full ban bill comes up for a vote, the results would be telling.

“We’re going to see who’s for real,” McSweeney said. “We’re going to see who’s for real if I get that bill to the floor. We have people who on principle oppose that, and I respect that, and we’ll see the people, and I hope they do. I certainly believe that they’re people of their word. If I get this voted, it’ll take a supermajority. I’ll have to work hard. [House Minority Leader] Jim Durkin and [red light camera company] SafeSpeed are working against me.”

A spokesperson for Durkin said he would support a ban on all red-light cameras in Illinois. As to campaign contributions Durkin got from SafeSpeed, Durkin’s spokesperson said he donated the money to charity right after it was revealed the indictment against former Senator Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, identified Company A as SafeSpeed.

Sandoval pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking bribes in exchange for protecting the red light camera industry. One of the bills he killed by putting it in a Senate committee with no members was McSweeney’s 2015 bill to partially ban red-light cameras that passed the Illinois House.

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