Two local state senators are divided on a newly proposed bill that would remove all of Florida’s red light cameras.
Sen. Jeff Brandes who represents St. Petersburg filed a bill Wednesday (SB 144) that would remove the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010 from Florida law. The law allows the use of red light cameras to monitor intersections for violations.
“We have had red light cameras in Florida for over three years,” Sen. Brandes says. “They were initially sold as safety devices, but I have come to firmly believe that they are now being used as backdoor tax increases.”
Democratic State Senator Audrey Gibson from Jacksonville tells WOKV she wouldn’t support this bill right now, though she’d consider a limit on the number of cameras on one stretch of road.
“But to just throw the baby out with the bath water when we have proven safety results, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” Gibson says.
Gibson says she’s seen with her own eyes how the cameras have helped to make sure people don’t run red lights.
But Republican State Senator Aaron Bean from Jacksonville calls the cameras “ticketing machines” meant for grabbing money.
“Last year, last session, we voted to get rid of drones on spying on Florida citizens,” Sen. Bean says. “What red light cameras are, are just little tiny drones that just sit at these intersections.”
Bean says if the Florida legislature can’t remove the cameras, they should create new guidelines for how tickets are issued at the intersections.
“It’s all about the money,” he says.