Government

Traffic camera opponents may get another shot to ban devices

Debate over whether to ban or regulate cameras continues at statehouse

State Rep. Ashley Hinson talks on the floor as they debate SF220 in the House Chambers of the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018. SF220, which passed the House 76-21, regulates automated traffic cameras. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
State Rep. Ashley Hinson talks on the floor as they debate SF220 in the House Chambers of the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018. SF220, which passed the House 76-21, regulates automated traffic cameras. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — Time may be running out on legislation to regulate traffic cameras in Cedar Rapids and elsewhere.

The Iowa House last month rejected a Senate plan to ban the traffic enforcement devices that were at one time operating in eight Iowa cities and one county.

However, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, has not given up on legislative efforts to ban traffic enforcement devices. He looks for the Senate to call up the House version for debate, but rather than concur, he will ask the Senate to reject Senate File 220 and send it back to the House.

Given that the House voted 77-21 to allow cities and counties to operate the cameras in school zones, construction zones and other high-risk areas, bill manager Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, isn’t sure what the House would do if SF 220 is brought to the floor again.

While some representatives — those who unsuccessfully supported a ban — would welcome another chance to vote on eliminating the devices, “I think there were some compelling arguments made for regulating,” Hinson said.

“We had a fair number of people who wanted a ban, but ended up supporting regulation first because they realized that, maybe, this is a step in that direction,” she said.

She’s not sure leadership wants to see the bill go to conference committee where three Republicans and two Democrats from each chamber would have to agree on a version of the bill before sending it back to the House and Senate for approval.

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“I’m not sure that’s a fight we want to have,” Hinson said. “There are very passionate people on both sides of this issue, but there are many issues right now that we are dealing with that are more of a priority for a lot of people.”

Zaun has hinted that he might have higher priorities and doing nothing with the House version of SF 220 would be preferable than the Senate concurring with it.

Which would be ironic because SF 220 was approved 31-18 in the Senate last year — before senators voted to ban cameras this year.

“We worked on the bill they sent us (and) then they changed their minds,” Hinson said.

To further complicate the outlook for the cameras, the Iowa Department of Transportation has ordered the cameras turned off, and the Iowa Supreme Court is considering an appeal of some of the tickets issued by the cameras.

Comments (319) 398-8375; James.Lynch@TheGazette.com

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