State Politics

On red light cameras, Florida House Republicans diverge

TALLAHASSEE -- House Republicans are in lockstep on many issues, but red-light cameras don't appear to be in that mix.

Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill, wants to ban, via House Bill 1235, red-light cameras as intersection traffic enforcement tools. But Speaker Pro Tempore Ron Reagan has competing legislation, HB 325, that would expand the use of high-tech cameras to catch red-light runners and create a more uniform system of enforcement and penalties.

Red-light cameras have long been hotly debated, with lots of back and forth about whether they are an effective deterrent, or whether they represent ";too much government."

Reagan, R-Bradenton, held a press conference today with Melissa Wandall, a Manatee County resident whose husband, Mark Wandall, was killed by a red-light runner and for whom HB 325 is named. Reagan urged passage of his bill, which last year died in the final whirl of the session after a revenue dispute.

"This is about public safety," Reagan said. "This is about giving our law enforcement an additional tool to save lives. Cameras are here already, and they are here to stay. This bill will establish a uniform standard throughout the state."