BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair


          SB 1303 (Simitian) - Automated traffic enforcement systems.
          
          Amended: As Introduced          Policy Vote: T&H 8-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: Yes
          Hearing Date: April 30, 2012                           
          Consultant: Mark McKenzie       
          
          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the 
          Suspense File. 

          
          Bill Summary: SB 1303 would revise the requirements that local 
          jurisdictions must follow when installing and operating 
          automated traffic enforcement systems (red light cameras).

          Fiscal Impact:  
           Likely minor one-time costs to Judicial Council to develop and 
            adopt courtesy notice forms, and minor ongoing costs to 
            compile and maintain reports received from operators of 
            automated traffic enforcement systems (Trial Court Trust 
            Fund).
           Non-reimbursable local costs to post signage and develop 
            uniform guidelines and procedures by January 1, 2014.  
            Additional local costs related to the discretionary act of 
            installing future automated traffic enforcement systems.

          Background: 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.  
          Existing law also prohibits a contract between a government 
          agency and an automated traffic enforcement system vendor that 
          provides compensation to the vendor based on the number of 
          citations issued or revenue generated by 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 








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          citations issued in error.

          Proposed Law: SB 1303 would revise the requirements that local 
          jurisdictions and enforcement agencies must follow when 
          installing and operating automated traffic enforcement systems.  
          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, 2014, 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, 2013.
           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, 2014, 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 the submittal of an annual report to the Judicial 
            Council that includes specified violation data on red light 
            camera systems, including: the number of alleged violations 
            captured by the systems; the number of citations issued and 
            whether the violations involved vehicles turning right or left 
            or traveling through an intersection; the number and 
            percentage of citations dismissed, and the impact that a 
            camera has had on collisions.
           Require Judicial Council to approve all forms for courtesy 
            notices and notices to appear.
           Allow the issuing agency and the vendor to issue courtesy 
            notices to registered owners of vehicles or alleged violators 
            prior to issuing a citation, and requires courtesy notices 
            issued after January 1, 2014 to be on a form approved by 
            Judicial Council and to contain specified information.
           Make other changes to ensure the processes for issuing and 
            contesting citations are consistent and transparent.

          Related Legislation: SB 29 (Simitian) 2011, which is 
          substantially similar to this bill, was vetoed by the Governor 
          last year with the following message:

             This bill standardizes rules for local governments to follow 
             when installing and maintaining red light cameras.








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             This is something that can and should be overseen by local 
             elected officials.

          Staff Comments:  Judicial Council has not prepared a fiscal 
          impact estimate for this bill, but staff notes that information 
          provided to the Committee last year for SB 29 indicates that 
          one-time 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.

          A violation of the Vehicle Code is a crime.  By changing the 
          requirements related to red light cameras, this bill creates a 
          state-mandated local program, but includes a standard "local 
          crime disclaimer" provision that indicates there is no state 
          obligation for reimbursement.  Any other local costs resulting 
          from this bill are not reimbursable because the decision to 
          install or operate an automated traffic enforcement system is 
          discretionary.