Road closed for proposed red light camera ban in Florida Constitution

Several earlier versions of the legislation also failed to be greenlit.

Legislation calling for a voter-approved amendment to the Florida Constitution banning red light cameras died without a hearing — again.

GOP lawmakers this year ignored related resolutions (SJR 2042, HJ 805) calling for a statewide ballot question on amending the constitution to prohibit “traffic infraction detectors” from recording motorists who fail to stop at stop signs or signals.

Miami Sen. Ileana Garcia and Sweetwater Rep. David Borrero carried the measures, which differed slightly. While Borrero’s bill aimed to end red light camera use statewide without exception, Garcia’s version would have allowed them in school speed zones — a new enforcement policy Gov. Ron DeSantis approved in June.

Neither got any play. St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Nick DiCeglie and Sarasota Republican Rep. Fiona McFarland, who chaired the bills’ first committee stops, declined to schedule either for a hearing.

Earlier versions of the legislation fared similarly. Local and state disputes over red light cameras, which can also be used to enforce right-turn violations, have persisted for years.

In 2012, former Sen. Tom Evers and former Rep. Scott Plakon carried twin bills to repeal provisions allowing red light cameras. Both died without a hearing.

Former Sen. Jeff Brandes and former Rep. Anthony Sabatini carried bills in 2019 to repeal provisions allowing red light cameras. Brandes’ bill never got a hearing. Sabatini’s measure cleared one committee before losing traction.

Sens. Bryan ÁvilaErin GrallTravis Hutson and Blaise Ingoglia, Rep. Daryl Campbell, and former Reps. Frank ArtilesDaphne Campbell and Anthony Rodriguez all filed similar measures.

The closest that state lawmakers got was in the 2017 Legislative Session, when a measure then-Reps. Ávila and Ingoglia co-sponsored passed in the House by a 91-22 vote before stalling out in the Senate.

As of June 30, 2023, the most recent date for which state data on the subject is available, there were 476 red light cameras active in Florida — down from 495 the year before. They resulted in 976,478 notices of violation and 50,751 in-person citations.

Traffic infractions detected by red light cameras cost $158 at first, but the fine can increase to $262 if drivers cited fail to pay, according to Florida Online Traffic School.

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.

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 4, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    This is great news for two reasons.

    #1 Constitutions are for rights, not for bans.

    #2 Red light cameras are THE only traffic enforcement that helps make anything safer and/or helps traffic flow. Everything else is about revenue and getting a foot in the door of that car that is figured to have “contraband”

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