Monday, April 27, 2009

Rep. Litz Offers Standards For Red Light Cameras

Appearing on Legislative Chat on public television, state representative John Litz of Morristown talked about his bill to establish statewide guides in how red light traffic camera intersections operate:

We are going to amend my bill that after the (caution) light, there is going to be a three-second all-red (signal) at that intersection,” Litz said of the legislation’s pending amendment. “After that three-second all-red, if you are still in that intersection, then you are going to be tagged with a citation. The reasoning behind this ... we wanted it to be uniform across the entire state. This gives us a chance to do that.”

To give an example of what impact the bill might have, Litz used this scenario: “If you’re coming up on an intersection, and you’re in a tractor-trailer, and you’re driving the speed limit if it is 45 miles per hour, there’s a point of no return whenever you get past the point where you can’t safely stop. What we want to do is give that vehicle a chance to get through there if they are at that point of no return without getting a $50 citation.”

Litz admitted one thing traffic light cameras have done for local governments is make money.

“There is a lot of argument and dissension in our area in Morristown. ... The agreement that (city officials) have made with the red light camera people is they get half the money,” Litz explained."

While it is notable that Rep. Litz is attempting to establish a state standard for these cameras, most people remain opposed to them. Rather than legislate a bad idea, it would serve the state better to outlaw the devices and put more emphasis on how we design intersections and roads in general.

The report also notes Rep. Litz's response to a plan to eliminate the stand-alone Ethics Commission and fold it into the Election Finance office. He also spoke about the current status of the state's Democratic Party, saying:

"I would consider myself a moderate conservative. ... I don’t think the Tennessee Democratic Party that I’m a part of is like a California Democrat. We’re not baby-killing, gun-stealing tree huggers."

I hope he isn't saying that such wingnuttery actually applies to some Democrats. Is he? The topic gets some debate in the comments at PostPolitics.

Rep. Litz serves as Assistant Democratic Leader for the House, as well as a member of the House Rules Committee, House Agriculture Committee, House State and Local Government Committee, and the Joint Veterans' Affairs Committee. John also serves on the House State Subcommittee and is Vice Chairman of the House General Subcommittee on Agriculture. His
website is here and it tracks the current legislation he is sponsoring.

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