House OKs photo radar ban, but it’s likely dead in Senate
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona House on Thursday approved legislation banning cities from using photo speed and red light enforcement cameras, but the proposal likely won’t see the light of day in the Senate barring some slick maneuvering by the House sponsor.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Travis Grantham barely passed the House on a 31-27 vote. It will now likely be assigned to the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee, where Republican chairman Sen. Bob Worsley has pronounced it dead on arrival.
Worsley said he believes in new technology and the photo enforcement cameras.
“I fundamentally believe that the very conservative members of my caucus have been overly critical of the tools that law enforcement, cities, have used to keep us safe — i.e. people speeding and running red lights,” Worsley said. “And the fact that there’s technology that helps enforce the law is not a bad thing, and we’ve made it a bad thing.”
Grantham is upset that Worsley won’t hear a bill that has passed the House two years in a row. He said he’ll try to maneuver around him.
“I want a floor vote in the Senate and that’s what I’m going to work very hard to get,” Grantham said.
Grantham believes photo enforcement is unconstitutional, causes crashes and that the industry is rife with fraud. Proponents say the cameras help boost safety and free up police officers to handle more serious crimes.
The photo enforcement issue has popped up in the Legislature for years, but an all-out ban routinely fails. The Legislature did ban them on state highways in 2016, and voters in Tucson banned photo radar by a wide margin in 2015.
Still, about a dozen cities and towns use the devices, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Grantham said he’s spoken to Senate President Steve Yarbrough in an effort to get his bill moving, but Yarbrough said it will almost certainly go to Worsley’s committee.
“In this case, my expectation is to assign the bill to the substantively correct committee, which strikes me as transportation,” Yarbrough said.
Worsley can block the bill because chairmen decide which bills to put on their calendars.
“I just believe the world in the future is going to be more automated and that we’re unjustifiably reacting to photo radar,” he said.
The clearest path around Worsley is for Grantham to persuade a supportive lawmaker in another committee to amend it on to an unrelated bill.
— The legislation is House Bill 2208.