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House Committee passes McSweeney bill to ban red-light cameras

Red-light cameras are more about revenue than public safety, McSweeney says

Red-light cameras are popping up more in the area, and the ones at the intersection of Routes 120 and 12, seen March 28 in Lakemoor, have led to a lawsuit.
Red-light cameras are popping up more in the area, and the ones at the intersection of Routes 120 and 12, seen March 28 in Lakemoor, have led to a lawsuit.

The Illinois House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, is sponsoring to ban red-light cameras in non-home rule communities in Illinois. House Bill 322 would prohibit non-home rule units of government from enacting or enforcing red-light camera ordinances.

A non-home rule unit is the form of government for either a county that does not have a chief executive officer elected by the electors of the county or a municipality that has a population of 25,000 or less, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.  

McSweeney passed the same bill in the House in 2015 and he said it then was killed by former state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The bill was amended into a study by Senate sponsors at the time to evaluate automated traffic law enforcement systems in the state.

The bill then was sent to Sandoval, chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee at the time, on May 13, 2016. Sandoval then directed the amended bill to the Subcommittee on Special Issues. When the session ended in January 2017, the bill died.

McSweeney long has been a proponent of banning red-light cameras. For him, red-light cameras are more about revenue than public safety. McSweeney said the bribery charges against Sandoval provide even more evidence of the need to ban red-light cameras. Sandoval plead guilty Jan. 28 to accepting $70,000 in bribes from a red-light camera company.

“These cameras are nothing more than a get rich scheme for the companies that install the cameras and the politicians who profit from protecting the companies behind this scam,” McSweeney said. “It is time to end this corruption once and for all.”

According to a Red Light Running Statistical Analysis and Evaluation that Fox River Grove posted in July, red-light cameras and red-light camera photo enforcement warning signs have the ability to reduce traffic crashes and improve compliance with traffic control devices.

More than $1 billion in fines have been collected from red-light cameras and multiple people have been indicted for crimes connected to the red light camera industry, according to a news release by McSweeney. 

“It is time to end this madness,” McSweeney said. “These cameras are not about making communities safer. They are about producing more revenue for local governments and padding the pockets of political insiders. It is another example of the culture of corruption in Illinois. My legislation is a big step forward in fighting Illinois corruption.”

The committee approved the measure by a vote of 11-0. House Bill 322 now advances to the House floor for further consideration.  

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