Cameras are everywhere, on the sides of school buses, above businesses and at busy intersections. But it’s these cameras, the ones set up to catch red-light runners, that are sparking debate at the state capitol.
“If it is an issue of safety we are willing to disregard our entire constitutional fundamental principals,” said State Representative Carlos Trujillo.
Thursday, for two hours, state lawmakers argued the merits of red-light cameras. The debate pitted police against a retired state trooper, Republicans against their own party and brought two former fire fighters from each side of the isle together.
“I spent 26 years on the ground as a firefighter, cutting people out of horrible, horrible T-bone accidents,” said House Democrat Mike Clelland.
“I have spooned people out of cars as a result of T-bone accidents,” said Republican Representative Ed Hooper.
The bill in question would ban the cameras in Florida. It narrowly passed. After the debate I asked the committee chairman what’s at stake.
Reporter: Is this an issue of safety versus freedom?
Patronis: To a certain degree yeah I think so.
The fear is, in the near future there will be no more privacy because everything will be recorded. But supporters of the devices say they don’t mind giving up their privacy or yours if they can save just one life.
“I will say that any number of red light cameras is worth saving one life,” said Representative Alan Williams, a Democrat.
Opponents of the cameras, who aren’t afraid of big brother, oppose the repeal bill for financial reasons. They call the cameras a money trap.
“It’s not for safety it’s only for money revenues,” said Democrat Daphne Campbell.
The tickets cost drivers 158 dollars a piece. Last year 51 million dollars in fines were paid.