Capital Clicks

Traffic camera ban advances in Iowa Senate

By: - March 1, 2021 5:32 pm

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require Des Moines and other cities to remove traffic cameras like the one on Interstate Highway 235 near 42nd Street. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Transportation)

A bill that would ban most traffic cameras in Iowa cleared a Senate committee on Monday.

Senate Study Bill 1176, introduced by Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, would ban future traffic-enforcement cameras everywhere except Cedar Rapids’ S-curve along Interstate Highway 80. It would require cities to turn off and remove cameras already in place.

Zaun said he sees the cameras as merely a move by cities to enhance revenues, despite some evidence they improve safety. A similar bill has passed the Senate before and stalled in the House.

Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, a retired deputy sheriff, said the legislation amounts to defunding the police, something the GOP majority has accused Democrats of supporting.

“I have listened all summer long about how the Democrats want to defund the police,” Kinney said. “This bill in Des Moines alone is going to cost them $3 million of revenue that goes back to the police department or public safety.”

Neither Democrats nor Republicans in the Legislature have moved to defund police departments, a move championed by some critics as a way to address what they see as systemic racism.

No other senator addressed the bill during Monday’s Judiciary Committee meeting. The legislation advanced on a 9-6 party line vote.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.