Ban on traffic cameras with Chinese parts captures full support in first Senate stop
Secure camera with traffic light and sign.

The measure follows several laws the Legislature passed last year to crack down on China’s influence in the Sunshine State.

Legislation prohibiting the purchase and installation of camera-based traffic control systems with Chinese parts in Florida recorded only “yes” votes at its first Senate stop.

The measure (SB 1464), which zipped through the Senate Transportation Committee, would also slow the speed at which local governments could approve using traffic surveillance equipment and hike reporting requirements.

Miami Republican Sen. Alexis Calatayud, the bill’s sponsor, said the goal is to “ensure the decisions to deploy such technology are transparent, based on evidence of safety needs and free from potential foreign influence, particularly from China.”

The bill, which advanced Tuesday, will next go to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. After that, it would have one more committee hearing before reaching a floor vote.

If passed, SB 1464 would:

— Require competitive bidding for local government contracts for camera systems used for traffic enforcement, including school bus infraction detection systems, speed detectors, traffic infraction detectors known commonly as red light cameras, and other systems.

— Prohibit the use of traffic enforcement camera systems constructed in China or made wholly or partially with Chinese parts.

— Force counties and municipalities that use cameras for traffic enforcement to pass ordinances authorizing their placement and installation. The ordinance must include consideration of traffic data or other evidence supporting the use of the equipment.

— Mandate that localities produce and present annual reports on the results of all traffic infraction detectors. Public comments must be allowed, and the report must include details on violations and outcomes from the preceding year.

SB 1464 and its House companion (HB 1363) by Coral Gables Republican Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, which awaits its third and final committee hearing, follow several laws the Legislature passed last year to crack down on China’s influence in the Sunshine State.

One currently under court appeal, prohibits governmental entities from contracting with “countries of concern,” including China, from buying agricultural lands. Another law approved last year cracks down on state college and university personnel accepting gifts or participating in partnerships with the same. Still another prohibits the use of the Chinese-founded social media application TikTok on state-issued cellphones and devices.

Earlier this week, House lawmakers voted to advance a bill by Fort Myers Republican Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka that would bar charities in the state from accepting financial gifts from the governments of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and any organization or non-U.S. citizen living within their bounds.


Anne Geggis contributed to this report.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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