Government

Iowa speed camera legislation in limbo

Iowa Senate vote delayed temporarily

Speed enforcement cameras are seen installed on overhead sign support over northbound Interstate 380 near J Avenue NE in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Iowa Department of Transportation ordered the city to cease operation of the cameras and and ones located in the southbound lanes at First Avenue W as motorists have already made their way through the S-curve through downtown Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Speed enforcement cameras are seen installed on overhead sign support over northbound Interstate 380 near J Avenue NE in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Iowa Department of Transportation ordered the city to cease operation of the cameras and and ones located in the southbound lanes at First Avenue W as motorists have already made their way through the S-curve through downtown Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — The future of legislation intended to ban or regulate traffic enforcement cameras was left idling in neutral in the Iowa Senate on Tuesday.

Senators in February passed an outright ban on the cameras, effective July 1.

But the Iowa House rejected that approach last month in favor of regulation of the speed and red-light cameras that had been operating in eight Iowa cities and one county, returning Senate File 220 to the Senate for reconsideration.

On Tuesday, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, offered a “strike-all” amendments proposal to return the language to ban the devices. But the debate was suspended because several members who were excused for the day would have affected the final vote outcome.

“I’m not giving up on the issue,” said Zaun, who requested the bill be deferred, although he insists he has the votes for a ban if all 50 senators are present.

However, he was uncertain how things would proceed, saying the issue would become part of the 2018 session’s “exit strategy” because a sizable number of Republicans want to pass the ban before they adjourn.

During floor debate, Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, argued against the ban, saying the Senate should accept the House version and send the bill to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The House bill would subject the cameras to state regulations and allow cities and counties to operate them in school zones, construction zones and other high-risk areas.

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“It’s probably going to go to the House and die” if the Senate sends a ban back to the House, Bisignano said. “I don’t believe they’re going to create a conference committee on traffic cameras. You’ve got a half a loaf. Concur and it’s over. But Sen. Zaun wants to go for the ‘Hail Mary.’ How often does the ‘Hail Mary’ work?”

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Before ending their work Tuesday, senators voted 35-11 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 2006, which seeks to submit a constitutional amendment to voters.

The language seeks to clarify that the lieutenant governor becomes governor if there is a vacancy in that office and that the governor has the authority to appoint a lieutenant governor for the remainder of the term if there is a vacancy in that office.

The constitutional change would resolve questions about the line of succession that arose when Kim Reynolds moved from lieutenant governor to governor after Terry Branstad resigned.

There were questions whether she would be an acting governor or the actual governor. Also, it was not clear whether she could appoint a lieutenant governor.

The joint resolution must pass both the House and Senate in the same form and then be approved again by the next Iowa General Assembly to come before voters in 2020.

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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