Revived house proposal would turn off red-light cameras

An effort to turn off red-light traffic cameras is once again back in the Florida House. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican who is running for Congress, has again filed a measure (HB 6029) that calls for a repeal of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program law.

The 2010 law, named after a man killed by a motorist who ran a red light, authorized the use of red-light cameras throughout the state. Sabatini, a harsh critic of state House GOP leaders, previously has said that the law isn’t altering "bad" driving behavior and that it punishes "working-class" people with $158 tickets for "taking a right on red, failing to stop, or just barely crossing the line when a camera is at an intersection." 

The House overwhelmingly approved a similar proposal in the 2018 legislative session but, as in other years, the measure failed to move forward in the Senate. No Senate companion bill was filed in the past two legislative sessions and, so far, Sabatini’s bill lacks a Senate companion for the 2022 session that begins in January. 

The Florida League of Cities has opposed the repeal effort, and a 2020 House analysis projected local governments could see a drop in revenue of around $75 million a year if the measure ultimately is approved. Critics of cameras have long maintained that the devices are primarily a way for local governments to raise revenues.