Mountain View Voice

News - October 14, 2011

Simitian's red-light-camera bill vetoed

by Gennady Sheyner

A proposal by Sen. Joe Simitian to set new restrictions on red-light cameras hit the wall Thursday (Oct. 6) when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it.

Senate Bill 29 would have prohibited cities from using red-light cameras to raise revenues and required signs at all locations where such cameras are in use. It also sought to make it easier for ticketed drivers to challenge the citations. The bill had passed unanimously in the Senate and cleared the Assembly by a 70-4 vote before Brown vetoed it.

In his veto message, Brown wrote that the bill "standardizes rules for local governments to follow when installing and maintaining red light cameras."

"This is something that can and should be overseen by local elected officials," Brown wrote.

But Simitian, D-Palo Alto, called the veto a "lost opportunity to help restore public trust in the purpose and operation of red-light cameras by bringing accountability and fairness to the process."

"I think we can keep folks safe and still give the driving public a fair shake," Simitian said in a statement. "I'm sorry the Governor didn't agree."

The proposal to strengthen state regulations on red-light cameras emerged from Simitian's annual "There Outghta Be a Law" competition. San Jose resident Vera Gil had proposed the bill after receiving several tickets from red-light cameras for a car she said she does not own and had never driven.

Simitian said in a statement that he hears similar complaints from other constituents.

"Discussion of the legislation over the past two years confirmed my initial suspicion that Ms. Gil's case was just the tip of the iceberg," Simitian said.

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