The legislation by Bedford Republican Jonathan Stickland bans the use of video cameras to catch drivers running a red light.
“The burden of proof is on the person to prove that they are innocent, which is a complete upside-down view of our judicial process, which is that you are innocent until proven guilty,” Stickland said.
Fort Worth-area Democrat Ramon Romero opposed the bill. He argued on the House floor how the cameras can help prevent T-bone collisions.
“So I want you guys to ask yourself a question, 'how did we get here and why did we ever get to red light cameras?' We got here because of T-bone collisions ...” Romero said.
Stickland agreed technology can make drivers safer but the state also needs to protect privacy and constitutional rights.
Stickland’s bill would allow municipalities to honor their existing contracts with private red-light camera companies.
The city of San Antonio does not hold any contract with red-light camera operators.
Gov. Greg Abbott listed the issue among his priorities for state lawmakers during his election campaign and during the legislative session.
Ultimately the bill passed on a vote of 109 to 34.
The next step is to resolve differences between this bill and a Senate version before sending the legislation to the governor’s desk.