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David McSweeney's bill to limit red light cameras' usage passes Illinois House

A bill that would stop red light cameras in some communities was approved by the Illinois House on Wednesday.

Before that the Illinois House of Representatives Cities and Village Committee on Monday voted, 4-3, to approve a bill sponsored by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, that would eliminate red light cameras in non-home rule communities.

“I think in my area and everywhere I go, people are sick and tired of the cameras,” McSweeney said. “In my view, they’re increasing revenue and not improving safety.”

The bill was approved by the Illinois House in a 79-26 vote.

Illinois law now allows cameras in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will counties. In McHenry County, Lake in the Hills, Lakemoor and Fox River Grove each have one red light camera, while Algonquin has three.

Under McSweeney’s bill, Fox River Grove and Lakemoor would lose their cameras, but Algonquin and Lake in the Hills would be able to keep them.

Altogether the $100 fines from the cameras generated $2.67 million in revenue in 2014 alone, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Of that, Lakemoor raked in the most, with its camera at Routes 120 and 12 resulting in more than 30,000 tickets and $1.8 million in revenue.

Fox River Grove Village President Bob Nunamaker said without the revenue from its red light camera at Routes 22 and 14 – reports show the village brought in almost $442,000 in ticket revenue in 2014 – leaders would eliminate road repairs.

He said the village has to use red light camera ticket revenue to fund road repairs because of $391,000 in annual police pension obligations.

“We would not fix roads,” Nunamaker said. “We would kick the can down the road.”

The bill wouldn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2017, giving communities time to find other revenue or cut expenses, McSweeney said. Now that the bill has passed the House, McSweeney said state Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, will pick it up in the Senate.

If the bill becomes law, Illinois will join other states that prohibit their use. Ohio lawmakers late last year approved a bill outlawing red light cameras, although it faces legal challenges from municipalities.

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