Governor Quinn’s Office Seeing Strong Opposition To Chicago Speed Camera Bill
Public Response To SB965 Oppose Bill By 9-1 Margin
People really don’t like Illinois Senate Bill 965.
SB965, also known as the Chicago speed camera bill, would allow the city to begin utilizing its red light camera system to do double duty issuing speeding tickets via the U.S. mail within 1/8 of a mile of a school or park.
But based on constituent feedback received by the Governor’s office, there is strong public opposition to the bill with public sentiment against the legislation heavily outweighing support by a 9-1 margin.
The Governor’s office released a report via a Freedom of Information request by The Expired Meter, that shows the Governor’s office has received a total of 224 phone calls, emails or letters from constituents regarding SB965, of which just 19 were in support of the bill. The other 205–over 91%–were opposed to the bill and urged the Governor to veto it.
In total the Governor’s office received 15 letters (11 opposed, 4 in support), 36 phone calls (35 opposed, 1 in support) and 173 email comments via the Governor’s website (159 opposed, 14 in support).
“I think that’s fantastic, but I’m not surprised.” said Cook County Campaign For Liberty’s Scott Davis about the public response to the bill. “People know speed cameras are not about safety, but about revenue.”
Perhaps the question is, how much does input from the public have on Governor Quinn’s final decision?
“I can tell you that the Governor is reviewing this legislation very carefully,” says Annie Thompson, spokesperson for the Governor’s office. “Public response is one of those (factors involved in the decision) and the Governor always wants to do what’s in the best interest of the people of Illinois.”
Governor Quinn promised to make a decision on whether he would sign or veto the bill ,which has been sitting on his desk since December 8th, by the end of January. Legally, the Governor has 60 days–until February 6th–to either sign or veto the bill.
While Quinn has kept mum on which way he’s leaning, it may be hard for the Governor to sign this bill when public sentiment is strongly opposed to seeing automated speed camera enforcement on the streets of Chicago.
Davis, who’s group is opposed to any sort of automated camera enforcement, thinks this may bode well for a veto of the bill because drivers will see the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the speeding tickets to be seen as increasing taxes as reported by this website in November.
“If he (Quinn) raises taxes on the poor and middle class by passing this bill, and gives tax breaks to companies like Sears, it’s not going to sit well with voters,” explains Davis. “Because he’s going to feel the political pressure when he’s up for re-election.”
The bill, passed the Illinois State Senate on October 26th and the State House on November 9th, was pushed through the General Assembly in breakneck speed by Chicago Mayor Rahm who claims the legislation will improve safety for juvenile pedestrians, while critics say it’s just a multimillion dollar revenue grab.
Chicago could equip up to 79 red light camera intersections with speed camera enforcement within 1/8 of a mile from a school or park or even deploy mobile vans in these zones to catch speeders.
Drivers caught at these camera enforced intersections exceeding the speed limit between 5 and under 11 mph would pay a $50 fine, while drivers exceeding 11 mph would be fined the original $100.
Enforcement hours around schools will only allow speed cameras to operate between 6 AM to 8:30 PM Monday through Thursday and from 6 AM to 9:00 PM on Fridays. No enforcement would occur on weekends.
RLC intersections within 1/8 of a mile of park district safety zones would have enforcement from one hour before the park opened until one hour after the park closed during weekdays.
Quinn is expected to make his decision on SB965 by Tuesday.