Home builds Momentum builds for statewide ban on red-light cameras amid federal corruption probe

Momentum builds for statewide ban on red-light cameras amid federal corruption probe

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Illinois lawmakers could consider banning red-light cameras when they return to Springfield next week.

Introduced earlier this month, House Bill 3909 would prohibit the use of red-light cameras. 

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, voted to both approve and then ban the use of the devices during his tenure on the Naperville City Council. 

“I originally supported them in the name of safety,” he said. “Once I saw what was going on, we got rid of them.”

study by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute found that red-light cameras in the state have resulted in more than $1 billion in fines since 2008.

Federal agents are looking into state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s interaction with SafeSpeed, a red-light camera operator that he had helped in the past. Wehrli said the state should at least suspend the use of red-light cameras until they can be better regulated or monitored.

“Unless we can show that they’re truly providing a safer driving environment, we should ban them, at least temporarily, until we can find out what nefarious activity is going on around the implementation of these money-printing machines,” he said. 

SafeSpeed, a company that donated to Sandoval’s campaign, was named as a subject of interest in search warrants of the senator’s offices. 

The warrants mentioned a bill number that could have represented legislation that would have banned red-light cameras in any city without home-rule status. Even though it passed by a wide margin in the House of Representatives, Sandoval directed House Bill 173 in 2016 to a Senate subcommittee that had no members. 

Both Wehrli’s bill and legislation from Barrington Hills Republican David McSweeney are in the House Rules Committee, a legislative vehicle tasked with directing legislation to an appropriate committee for consideration.