Missouri voters could have a voice on the future of red-light cameras.
A bill filed earlier this month in the state legislature would ask voters in August 2016 if they want to ban the use of red-light cameras.
Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Union, pre-filed the bill Dec. 1. He cited recent election results as one of the reasons for giving the state’s voters a choice on the issue. In St. Charles County, a ban on the devices passed Nov. 4 by a 73 percent to 27 percent margin.
Mr. Curtman also questioned the practices of many local government leaders who have classified all offenses caught by red-light cameras as a non-moving violation, which allows municipalities to collect a fine without assigning points to a driver’s license.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about municipalities generating revenue in a way that builds barriers of distrust between the people and their government,” Mr. Curtman said. “I intend to afford Missourians with the opportunity to speak loud and clear as a check and balance to their government, and this bill allows just that.”
St. Joseph began its own red-light camera saga in July 2010, when City Council passed laws to establish how it would handle the devices. The council approved an agreement in May 2011 with American Traffic Solutions and the Missouri Highways Commission to operate the cameras within the city, with cameras going online in February 2013. The cameras operated within the city until November 2013, when they were taken offline in response to a state lawsuit.
St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally said the city’s equipment remains in place at the two intersections where it was originally installed — Belt Highway and Frederick Boulevard and Belt Highway and Cook Road.
Mr. Connally said the city eagerly awaits a decision on the legality of red-light cameras from the Missouri Supreme Court, which heard arguments beginning this month.
“It’s an effective program and it did what we thought it would do,” Mr. Connally said.
The agreement St. Joseph made with American Traffic Solutions paid the company entirely with a percentage of revenue from the tickets that were issued. As a result, the city does not owe the company any money while the cameras are shut down and would not have to pay any fee if the lawsuit or an eventual voter decision requires the cameras to be removed.