Texas Senate passes Bill to Ban Red Light Cameras

May 17, 2019

House Bill 1631 Prohibits the use of Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Systems


AUSTIN– House Bill 1631, otherwise known as the Red-Light Camera Bill, passed the Texas Senate 23-8. The bill was authored in the House by Representative Jonathan Stickland (R – Bedford) and sponsored in the Senate by Senator Bob Hall (R – Edgewood). HB 1631 prohibits the use of Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Systems, effectively banning red-light cameras. After passage, Representative Stickland tweeted, “The bill to ban red light cameras just passed the Senate and is headed your way Governor Abbott. Would love your quick signature on it so we can restore our Constitutional rights!

Senator Hall, pointed out that, “Red-light cameras violate the right to due process guaranteed under Article 1 of the Texas Constitution by creating a presumption that the registered owner of the car committed a violation when in fact that may not have been the case.” This Bill makes sure that a local authority may not implement or operate a photographic traffic signal enforcement system with respect to a highway or street under the jurisdiction of the authority. The Bill also includes a provision to allow local governments to continue operating cameras until they finish out any contracts in effect as of May 7thof this year.

Caucus Chair, Senator Paul Bettencourt (R – Houston) remarked that the, “First conversation I had with Senator Campbell (R – New Braunfels) when she was running for office was about red camera light bills.” For those concerned about the loss of revenue, Senator Hall made sure to mention that issue had been resolved with the chamber’s budget writers, who found a way to make up the difference through another revenue stream. Governor Greg Abbott (R – TX) weighed in on the issue, supporting efforts to eliminate the cameras and commented that, “This is a matter of due process. Police can always enforce traffic laws in person.” Responding to an amendment put forth by Democratic Senator Menendez, Senator Robert Nichols (R – Jacksonville) remarked that, “Any amendments to this bill Could force this bill to a conference committee, which could kill the bill this late in session.

After passage Senator Hall stated, “After years of effort by scores of Texans, I am pleased to announce that the Texas Legislature has finally passed a bill that will prohibit red light cameras in Texas. The bill will also prohibit counties from using unpaid red-light tickets to block vehicle registration. The passage of this bill is a major victory for Texans. No longer will Texans have their 5thand 14thamendments violated by unconstitutional tickets. Also, highway safety will be improved. I am truly honored to have worked with Representative Stickland to pass this historic bill.” The Texas Senate Republican Caucus will not leave Austin this legislative session without securing the constitutional rights of our citizens.

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