Red light camera ban gets second life in House

Sending the bill to the Appropriations Committee makes the bill “funnel-proof”

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DES MOINES —House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, has resuscitated a proposed ban on traffic enforcement cameras that was about to fall victim to the Iowa Legislature’s funnel deadline.

Based on a high level of interest in the cameras — and banning them — Paulsen on Thursday said he referred the legislation to the House Appropriations Committee.

“I think there is a great deal of interest among Iowans,” Paulsen said. “I know there is interest in the chamber.”

The proposal would prohibit cameras used to enforce traffic laws at busy or dangerous intersections and monitor speeds on streets and highways.

At one point, Paulsen said, the bill had between 65 and 70 votes, with Democrats putting up 15 to 20 of them.

On Wednesday, however, the bill’s floor manager, Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, said he had not been able to find the 51 votes required for passage, even within his own party. He suggested Democrats had made the legislation a partisan issue, but Democrats disputed that contention.

Because of the lack of support, the camera bill had been in danger of missing today’s funnel deadline, which requires non-spending measures to clear one legislative chamber and a committee of the other to remain eligible for consideration.

However, sending the bill to the Appropriations Committee, which deals with spending issues, makes the bill “funnel-proof” and allows it to remain eligible for debate.

“Every now and then,” Paulsen said, “the chamber needs to take a step backwards and take a step forwards and that’s what we’re going to do on this bill.”

Even if the bill is able to survive in the House, however, its future in the Democratic-controlled Senate still does not look rosy. Transportation Committee Chairman Tom Rielly, D-Oskaloosa, indicated Wednesday he had no meetings planned on the legislation.

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