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Colorado Lawmakers Take The Teeth Out Of Red-Light Camera Ban

Colorado lawmakers stripped a bipartisan bill to ban all red light and photo radar cameras, turning the measure into a study instead, according to the Denver Post.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle supported the bill, calling the hated cameras nothing more than a moneymaker for municipalities that don’t improve traffic safety. Sponsors have said they had the votes to pass the ban and send the bill to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.

“These cameras just create revenue for cities and don’t actually increase public safety at our intersections,” Democratic Speaker Mark Ferrandino, one of the bill’s sponsors, told the Denver Post earlier this month. “I think we should be focused on making people safe, not raising money.”

But opponents fought back with statistics showing reduced instances of injury accidents at some intersections equipped with the cameras. Nine mayors, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, wrote an open letter to lawmakers

“At a time when we have deepening concerns over hit-and-run drivers, impaired drivers, and traffic calming in neighborhoods, it makes no sense to eliminate a law enforcement tool that has increased traffic law compliance and reduced accidents,” the letter reads.

A last minute amendment passed on Monday during a committee hearing on the bill, essentially killed it, removing mention of a ban and instead proposing the state study the issue.

It may not be entirely dead, as the Denver Post noted. The bill next moves to the House Appropriations Committee, where it could be amended again back to its original intent.

But even if the ban is revived, it’s not known whether Hickenlooper will sign it into law. He’s been noncommittal about his stance on the bill, telling the Post: “I think there are a number of people that feel a level of anger over what they feel is an intrusion and is not making their roads safer, and their opinion is that it’s a way for local governments to try to increase their revenues. That creates a real frustration in a lot of elected officials.”

About of half of people surveyed in a recent poll by Public Policy Polling support having cameras at dangerous intersections, compared to 39 percent who want them gone.

Ten states have already banned the devices.

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