Red light cameras are one step closer to being outlawed in the state of Texas.
House Bill 1631 passed the Senate on Friday, and now the bill sits on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk.
If signed into law, the use of red light cameras would eventually be banned, but when would the law go into effect for the City of Amarillo?
HB 1631 has a provision stating cities can continue operating the red light cameras until their contracts with vendors expire, if their contracts do not include a clause which would allow them to cancel if adverse state legislation passes.
The city of Amarillo recently signed a new red light camera contract which ends in September of 2023.
A spokesman for the City of Amarillo issued this statement:
“Until we see the final version of the legislation, signed by the governor, and our legal department has a chance to review the legislation, there is nothing specific we can comment on regarding the red light traffic camera bill. The city will follow the new law – whatever that will be – once the process is complete. Until the legislative process is complete, it is impossible to comment on what might be the impact.”
– City of Amarillo Statement
Getting rid of red light cameras is something Ryan Brown, Partner at Blackburn & Brown, LLP, can get behind.
“It looks like the state’s going to outlaw them, but I think that’s a good thing. I don’t know anyone that really likes red light cameras, besides from like, local city officials,” Brown said. “The people don’t like them. They don’t make anything better. They’re just a way to generate revenue and I don’t think they’re very good at that.”
Brown said he believes red light cameras violate due process.
“Right now the City of Amarillo is referring these over to civil firms and having them sue to enforce it and I know because I’ve gotten one in the mail. But in the past, you know, we’ve recommended that people just not pay them because they’re not criminal charges, they’re civil,” Brown added. “I used to always recommend to people not pay them unless they want to make a donation to the city.”
In the meantime, HB 1631 awaits approval or denial. The legislative session ends Monday, May 27.
Correction: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect a provision in HB 1631 and its effect on Amarillo.