Texas Republican Files House Bill To FINANCIALLY PENALIZE States With Traffic Cameras

Texas Republican Files House Bill To FINANCIALLY PENALIZE States With Traffic Cameras 1 PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—Texas Republican Rep. Ron Wright filed a bill in the lower chamber last week that a good number of Americans who drive motor vehicles may support.

Titled the Traffic Camera Freedom Act of 2019, the bill retains a percentage of highway funding to states that use traffic enforcement cameras, essentially banning the systems that are installed on roadways and intersections in various municipalities.

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Texas passed similar legislation this week that was signed into law by Gov. Gregg Abbot. That bill banned red light cameras in the entire state.

However, Texas cities that had the cameras before May 7 were grandfathered in and allowed to keep the systems in place until the city contracts expired with the red-light camera companies, MyHighPlains.com reported.

“I introduced this legislation to build on what we accomplished in Texas. If something is a civil liberties issue for Texans, it is a civil liberties issue for all Americans,” Wright said in a statement.

He continued, “Automated traffic enforcement systems violate a number of Americans’ constitutional rights depending on how and where they are used, including the right to due process (14th amendment) and the right to confront one’s accuser (6th amendment). Furthermore, the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is violated when motorists are photographed without a warrant. This presumption that the registered owner is the driver impermissibly shifts the burden of proof.  How much big brother are we willing to accept? In Texas, we still believe in freedom.”

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In 2013, a Rasmussen poll of 1,000 adults showed that only 35 percent of Americans believed that traffic cameras reduced speeding.

Additionally, forty-five percent of American adults think it is a good idea to use cameras at traffic intersections to catch speeders and those who run traffic lights. However, around the same amount (46 percent) said otherwise.

The future of this bill remains uncertain as Democrats may not take it up in committee right away or at all, but the bill could resurface in the future.