BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair SB 29 (Simitian) Hearing Date: 05/09/2011 Amended: 04/05/2011 Consultant: Mark McKenzie Policy Vote: T&H 9-0 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: SB 29 would revise the requirements that local jurisdictions and enforcement agencies must follow when installing and operating "automated traffic enforcement systems" (red light cameras). Specifically, this bill would: Require signs to be posted within 200 feet of an intersection where red light cameras are in use by January 1, 2013, as specified, instead of allowing signs either at intersections or at the entrances to the city. Require a local agency to adopt a finding that the placement of a red light camera is needed for reasons related to safety, for cameras placed after January 1, 2012. Require local agencies to develop uniform guidelines for screening and issuing violations, for handling confidential information, and for selecting locations for red light camera use by January 1, 2013, for both existing and new cameras. Prohibits the operator of a red light camera from considering revenue generation, beyond actual cost recovery, when considering whether to install a camera. Require Judicial Council to approve all forms for courtesy notices and notices to appear. Allow issuing agencies to issue courtesy notices to registered owners of vehicles prior to issuing a citation in an effort to determine the identity of the driver and requires that notice to contain specified information.. Require the submittal of an annual report to the Judicial Council that includes specified violation data, including the number of alleged violations, number of citations issued, number of citations dismissed, and the impact that a camera has had on collisions. Make other changes to ensure the processes for issuing and contesting citations are consistent and transparent. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund Penalty revenue loss unknown potential penalty revenue SB 29 (Simitian) Page 1 lossVarious* ------------(see staff comments)------------ Judicial Council minor and absorbable costs to approveSpecial** forms and receive annual reports Local mandate no state costs (local crime disclaimer)Local ____________ * General/Special (See staff comments for itemized schedule of penalty assessments) ** Trial Court Trust Fund _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: This bill may meet the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. This bill includes a provision that requires a "courtesy notice" issued to the registered owner of a vehicle involved in a red light camera violation to clearly and prominently notify the owner that he or she is not required to provide information on the identity of the driver of the vehicle, and that failure to provide that information will not result in additional responsibility or liability associated with the alleged violation. To the extent that this provision directly results in a decrease in the identification of drivers involved in violations, and the issuance of fewer citations with sufficient evidence to justify a conviction, this bill could result in a decrease in penalty revenues. If approximately 1,800 fewer convictions are achieved in a year as a result of these notice requirements, this bill would meet the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Existing law authorizes the use of automated traffic enforcement systems at railroad crossings and intersections to record violations of unlawful grade crossings and red light running. Only a governmental agency, in cooperation with law enforcement, may operate an automated enforcement system. Existing law authorizes a governmental agency to contract out its duties to certify that the equipment is installed and operating properly, and regularly inspected, provided the agency maintains overall supervision and control of the system. This bill is intended to improve accountability of local governments that use red light camera systems, to ensure citations are properly issued, and to improve the means for a person to challenge citations issued in SB 29 (Simitian) Page 2 error. Staff notes that the base fine for running a red light is $100, with total bail running as high as $528, including penalty assessments. The following illustrates the amount, statutory reference, and recipient of each assessment for a $100 base fine: $100 penalty ($10 for each $10 of base fine); Penal Code (PC) 1464; 70% to state for deposit in State Penalty Fund, 30% to county General Fund. $70 penalty ($7 for each $10 of base fine); Government Code (GC) 76000; full amount to county, as specified. $20 penalty ($2 for each $10 of base fine); GC 76000.5; to county for specified emergency medical services. $40 penalty ($4 for each $10 of base fine); GC 76104.6 and 76104.7; 75% to state for deposit in State DNA Identification Fund, 25% to county for implementation of Proposition 69 (2004). $50 penalty ($5 for each $10 of base fine); GC 70372 (a); full amount to state for deposit into Court Facilities Construction Fund, as specified. $20 surcharge (20% of base fine); PC 1465.7; full amount to state for deposit in General Fund. $4 flat fine; GC 76000.10; full amount to state for deposit in the emergency Medical Air Transportation Act Fund. $40 court security fee; PC 1465.8 (a); full amount to state for deposit in the Trial Court Trust Fund for court security purposes (amount reduced to $30 on July 1, 2011, and to $20 on July 1, 2013). $35 conviction assessment fee; GC 70373; full amount to state for deposit in the State Court Facilities Construction Fund. For those ordered or permitted to attend a traffic violator school, there is an additional $49 fee; VC 42007.1; 51% to state for deposit in State Court Facilities Construction Fund and 49% to county General Fund. Courts may adjust this amount to cover costs to administer TVS program. The following breakdown summarizes the total state fiscal impact for each violation with a $100 base fine ($249 total): $20 to General Fund $70 to State Penalty Fund $85 to State Court Facilities Construction Fund $40 to Trial Court Trust Fund SB 29 (Simitian) Page 3 $30 to State DNA Identification Fund $4 to Medical Air Transportation Act Fund. The total number of red light camera violations that ultimately end up as a conviction resulting in payment of bail is unknown. According to information provided by Redflex Traffic Systems, the largest supplier of red light camera systems to cities and counties in California, approximately 67,645 citations are issued annually as a result of the "courtesy notice" process in which the registered owner of a vehicle provides information about the driver involved in an alleged violation. The number of these that ultimately ends in a conviction and payment of fines and assessments is unknown. As noted above, if the bill's requirements directly result in a decrease in the identification of drivers involved in violations, and the issuance of fewer citations with sufficient evidence to justify a conviction, this bill could result in a decrease in penalty revenues. For example, if 1,800 fewer convictions are achieved in a year as a result of the enhanced notice requirements (less than 3% of the number of citations issued through the courtesy notice process by Redflex), this bill would result in a loss of $153,000 in penalties that would otherwise be deposited into the Court Facilities Construction Fund. A violation of the Vehicle Code is a crime. By changing the requirements related to red light cameras, this bill creates a non-reimbursable state-mandated local program (local crime disclaimer). Judicial Council indicates that administrative costs to develop and adopt forms required by this bill would be minor and absorbable. Furthermore, any costs to receive reports on red light camera use by local agencies would be absorbable. Staff notes that this bill is similar to SB 1362 (Simitian), which was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year.