The city of Marshall announced it is ending its red light camera program as a new state law takes effect.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1631, which prohibits cities from operating red light traffic camera systems, into law June 1. The city of Marshall said that any citations for red light violations that occurred before June 2 are still valid.
Anyone with outstanding citations issued for violations prior to June 2 should send a check, money order or cashier’s check made out to the City of Marshall. The payment should be mailed to the Marshall Police Department, ATTN: Photo Enforcement, 2101 East End Blvd. North, Marshall, Texas, 75670.
At the state level, House Bill 1631 cleared the chamber on a 23-8 vote after several back-and-forths among senators about studies that both support and challenge the efficacy of the devices when it comes to promoting safer streets. The Senate left in place a key provision to allow local governments to continue operating cameras until they finish out any contracts in effect as of May 7.
“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,” said state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who sponsored the legislation originally offered by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said at the time of the bill’s passing.
Many city officials and local law enforcement officials opposed the legislation, arguing that cameras reduce deadly accidents and bring in revenue for trauma care centers and local governments. Gesturing toward a binder with 25 studies that suggest the opposite, Hall fended off questions from fellow senators who asked about the potential loss of revenue, particularly the dollars that go to trauma care centers, from fines on drivers who run red lights.
In the 2017 fiscal year, $18.3 million from red-light camera fines went to the state’s trauma care. The bill’s fiscal note indicates banning cameras would cut $28 million in funding for trauma centers over the next two years. But Hall told his colleagues that the issue had been resolved with the chamber’s budget writers, who found a way to make up the difference through another revenue stream.