The Illinois Senate on Tuesday fell four votes short of approving a plan to let certain Illinois counties — including Peoria, Sangamon and Winnebago — install cameras to nab motorists who zip through stoplights.
The Illinois Senate fell four votes short Tuesday of approving a plan to let certain Illinois counties — including Peoria, Sangamon and Winnebago — install cameras to nab motorists who zip through stoplights.
House Bill 5288 needed 30 yes votes to pass in the Senate. The final tally was 26-24.
The bill’s Senate sponsor, Democratic Sen. John Cullerton of Chicago, hailed it as a public-safety strategy that saves lives.
The cameras already are permitted in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will counties. The legislation would have added DeKalb, LaSalle, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon and Winnebago counties.
Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria, said he was voting for the bill, even though "I’ve been very reluctant to support red-light cameras."
Peoria officials favor the red-light camera plan, he said.
Opponents to the bill said it is flawed. They questioned the accuracy of the cameras, raised privacy concerns and criticized local governmental bodies for using the cameras to generate revenue.
"I really believe this is just a moneymaker for municipalities," said Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, who voted no.
Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, added, "I’m not in favor of arrest by mail."
Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, urged fellow senators to "think about this vote because if you vote for this, you’re voting to live under Big Brother. You’re voting to live in a spy society."
In April, the Illinois House of Representatives approved an earlier version of the bill, but it got revised in the Senate. Before any bill can go to the governor’s desk for consideration, the House and Senate must vote for the same measure.
The Senate revisions would have:
-Required at least a three-second duration for yellow lights in intersections.
-Ensured that motorists would not be ticketed unless their entire vehicle goes past a stop-line marking on the road.
-Generally prevented municipalities from installing red-light cameras at a particular intersection unless they have already conducted a six-month evaluation of accident rates, installed strobe lights in the traffic signals and mounted traffic signals on mast arms, rather than on ground-level posts.
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