BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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         SENATE THIRD READING
         SB 1303 (Simitian)
         As Amended  August 13, 2012
         Majority vote 

          SENATE VOTE  :38-0  
          
          TRANSPORTATION      11-1        JUDICIARY           9-0         
         
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         |Ayes:|Bonnie Lowenthal,         |Ayes:|Feuer, Wagner, Atkins,    |
         |     |Achadjian, Blumenfield,   |     |Dickinson, Gorell, Huber, |
         |     |Bonilla, Buchanan, Eng,   |     |Monning, Wieckowski,      |
         |     |Furutani, Galgiani,       |     |Bonnie Lowenthal          |
         |     |Logue, Wagner, Solorio    |     |                          |
         |     |                          |     |                          |
         |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
         |Nays:|Norby                     |     |                          |
         |     |                          |     |                          |
          ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          APPROPRIATIONS      16-1                                        
          
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         |Ayes:|Gatto, Harkey,            |     |                          |
         |     |Blumenfield, Bradford,    |     |                          |
         |     |Charles Calderon, Campos, |     |                          |
         |     |Davis, Donnelly, Fuentes, |     |                          |
         |     |Hall, Hill, Cedillo,      |     |                          |
         |     |Mitchell, Nielsen,        |     |                          |
         |     |Solorio, Wagner           |     |                          |
         |     |                          |     |                          |
         |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
         |Nays:|Norby                     |     |                          |
         |     |                          |     |                          |
          ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          SUMMARY  :  Revises procedures that local jurisdictions must follow 
         when installing and operating automated traffic enforcement 
         systems (red light cameras).  Specifically,  this bill  :   

         1)Clarifies that computer-generated information stored by an 
           automated traffic enforcement system (red light camera system) 
           is presumed to be an accurate representation.  

         2)Requires local jurisdictions to post signs identifying the use 








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           of red light cameras within 200 feet of an intersection where 
           they are in use.  Local jurisdictions with systems in place as 
           of January 1, 2013, must have signs posted in accordance with 
           this bill not later than January 1, 2014.  

         3)Specifies that local jurisdictions using red light cameras do 
           not need to post signs notifying the use of red light cameras 
           from directions not subject to the citation.  

         4)Eliminates the option for local jurisdictions to post signs at 
           major entrances to the city indicating that red light cameras 
           are in use.  

         5)Requires local jurisdictions operating red light cameras to 
           establish uniform guidelines by January 1, 2014, for screening 
           and issuing violations and for storage of confidential 
           information for systems installed after January 1, 2013.  

         6)Requires local jurisdictions, prior to installing a red light 
           camera system, to make and adopt a finding of fact establishing 
           the need for the system at the specific location, for reasons 
           related to safety.  

         7)Specifies that evidence from red light camera systems is not 
           hearsay.  

         8)Prohibits a local jurisdiction from considering revenue 
           generation, beyond recovering actual costs of operating the 
           system, when considering whether or not to install and operate a 
           red light camera system.  

         9)Requires the vendor of a red light camera system, in cooperation 
           with the local jurisdiction, to submit an annual report to the 
           Judicial Council that includes the following:

            a)   The number of alleged violations captured by the red light 
              camera systems they operate;

            b)   The number of citations issued by law enforcement based on 
              the information collected;

            c)   Based on the overall number of red light camera citations, 
              the number of violations that involved traveling straight 
              through the intersection, turning right, and turning left;








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            d)   The number and percentage of red light camera citations 
              that are dismissed by the court; and,

            e)   The number of traffic collisions at each red light 
              camera-controlled intersection that occurred prior to and 
              after the installation of the red light camera.  

        10)          Specifies that if, after law enforcement has issued a 
          red light camera citation, the citing officer determines that the 
          citation or notice should be dismissed, the citing agency may 
          recommend in writing to the court that the case be dismissed and 
          the court may dismiss the case.  

         11)          Requires a notice to appear to contain the following 
           information:  

            a)   The method that the registered owner of the vehicle or 
              alleged violator may view and discuss the evidence used to 
              substantiate the violation by phone and in person; and,

            b)   The contact information of the issuing agency.  

         12)          Provides a specific illustration of the form that 
           must be used for the Notice of Non-Liability and Courtesy Notice 
           clearly indicating that the notice is not a ticket.  

         13)          Prohibits the vendor or issuing agency from altering 
           the notice to appear, courtesy notice, or any other form 
           approved by the Judicial Council.  

         14)          Specifies that if the form is found to be materially 
           altered, the citation based on the altered form may be dismissed 
           by the court.  

         15)          Makes related, clarifying amendments.  

          EXISTING LAW  :

         1)Specifies that printed representation of computer information 
           and images stored on a video or digital medium is presumed to be 
           an accurate representation.  

         2)Requires local jurisdictions that operate red light cameras to 








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           clearly indicate the system's presence by posting signs that are 
           visible to traffic approaching from all directions or by posting 
           signs at all major entrances to the city.  

         3)Requires local jurisdictions that operate red light cameras to 
           establish uniform guidelines for screening and issuing 
           violations and for the processing and storage of confidential 
           information as well as procedures for compliance with the 
           guidelines.  

         4)Requires local jurisdictions that operate red light cameras to 
           perform various administrative functions including establishing 
           guidelines for their placement and operation.  

         5)Specifies that a notice to appear for a red light camera 
           violation constitutes a complaint to which the defendant may 
           enter a plea as long as the citation is issued by a law 
           enforcement agency and delivered by mail within 15 days to the 
           current address of the vehicle's registered owner.  

         6)Requires the notice to appear to contain the name and address of 
           the person, the license plate number of the person's vehicle, 
           the violation charged including a description of the offense, 
           and the time and place of the scheduled court appearance set at 
           least 10 days after the notice to appear has been delivered.  

         7)Authorizes a governmental entity to issue a citation to a person 
           identified by the registered owner of the vehicle as being the 
           driver at the time of the alleged violation.  The notice issued 
           to the registered owner requesting identification of the driver 
           is typically called a courtesy notice.  

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
         Committee, minor costs to the Judicial Council to approve the 
         forms and to compile and maintain reports provided by red light 
         camera system operators.  
          
         COMMENTS  :  Automated enforcement systems were originally 
         authorized in California by SB 1802 (Rosenthal) Chapter 1216, 
         Statutes of 1994, to enforce rail crossings.  Two years later, SB 
         833 (Kopp) Chapter 922, Statutes of 1995, authorized a three-year 
         demonstration period to test the use and effectiveness of similar 
         systems in reducing the incidence of drivers running red lights at 
         roadway intersections and in identifying the drivers committing 








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         such violations and the vehicles involved.  The installation of 
         these systems were considered justified primarily because red 
         light running is considered a serious traffic problem that can 
         have catastrophic results.  

         After reviewing the operations and effectiveness of the pilot 
         program, the Legislature enacted SB 1136 (Kopp) Chapter 54, 
         Statutes of 1998, to indefinitely authorize the use of red light 
         cameras at intersections.  Major modifications were made to this 
         statutory authority by AB 1022 (Oropeza) Chapter 511, Statutes of 
         2003, as a result of an audit by the State Auditor that generally 
         concluded local governments needed to exert more control over the 
         operation of the automated traffic enforcement systems.  

         According to the author, the intent of this bill is to preserve 
         the ability of red light camera systems to operate while bringing 
         a greater degree of fairness to their use with particular 
         attention to concerns about accuracy, privacy, and due process.  
         Specifically, the bill address the evidentiary use of red light 
         camera photographs, notification signage, the prohibition against 
         using red light cameras as a revenue generation tool, requirements 
         for data collection with regard to red light camera violations, 
         dismissal of red light camera citations, and the use of courtesy 
         notices.  
          
         Hearsay Rule  :  The 2nd District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles 
         published two decisions recently concerning automated red light 
         camera system evidence submitted to convict violators of running 
         red lights.  In February, a three-judge panel on the appellate 
         court ruled in People v. Borzakian (2012) that an officer 
         testifying in the case was not qualified to authenticate video and 
         picture evidence, because the city had contracted for the 
         maintenance and operation of the automated traffic enforcement 
         system and therefore operating the system was not part of the 
         ordinary course of business for the police department.  The city's 
         evidence was not properly admitted because the officer could not 
         authenticate the videos and pictures, and without this evidence, 
         nothing supported the alleged violation.  The court reversed 
         Borzakian's conviction based on this finding.  

            

          Later that month, in People v. Goldsmith (2012), a different 
         three-judge panel from the same appellate court came to a 








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         different conclusion.  The panel determined that testimony on the 
         accuracy and reliability of computer systems is not required for 
         photos or video to be admitted as evidence unless alternative 
         evidence is introduced casting doubt on the photo or video's 
         accuracy.  Because Goldsmith did not provide any substantial 
         evidence undermining the reliability of the video and photographic 
         evidence, the court concluded that the evidence did not need to be 
         authenticated and therefore upheld the conviction.  



         According to the author, these conflicting decisions demonstrate a 
         need for clarification in statute regarding the evidentiary 
         standards required for prosecuting red light camera violations.  
         The National Motorists Association (NMA), however, believes that 
         the provision meant to clarify the statute instead eliminates any 
         possibility for state courts to rule photographic evidence 
         generated by red light cameras lacks foundation.  The NMA claims 
         that this bill will therefore result in persons receiving red 
         light camera citations being deprived of their basic right to 
         challenge the evidence used against them-- eliminating a 
         significant legal hurdle for those who operate red light cameras 
         while eliminating the opportunity for motorists to defend 
         themselves in court.  


         According to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, beyond the hearsay 
         question, the courts differed fundamentally in their 
         interpretation of Evidence Code Sections 1552 and 1553, and on 
         what is required to authenticate the photographs.  Because the 
         Legislature enacted those sections, the Assembly Judiciary 
         Committee notes that it is arguably both the right and duty of the 
         Legislature to clarify what is meant by them when two courts reach 
         different conclusions about what they mean.  The author has 
         attempted to achieve this clarification by amending the Evidence 
         Code sections on authentication and specifying that both Sections 
         1552 and 1553 apply to images generated by red-light camera 
         systems.  In addition, it expressly states for the limited 
         purposes of contested red-light citations, the photographs shall 
         not constitute hearsay.  It is important to note that this bill 
         does not create a new "hearsay exception" to add to the 
         traditional list of exceptions.  It is instead saying that the 
         photographs are not hearsay, and therefore that there is no need 
         for a hearsay exception.  








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          Signage  :  Currently, the law requires local jurisdictions to place 
         signs indicated red light cameras are in use either at all city 
         entrance roads or at all approaches to the photo enforced 
         intersection.  The majority of jurisdictions choose to erect signs 
         at individual intersections because it is generally believed that 
         the warning signs, in addition to the presence of the red light 
         camera, act as a deterrent to red light running thereby reducing 
         red light violations and improving safety.   
          
         This bill would eliminate a local jurisdiction's option of where 
         to post red light camera notices by eliminating requiring that 
         signs be placed at individual photo enforced intersections within 
         200 feet of the intersection in the direction that citations are 
         being issued.  Additionally, the bill would require local 
         jurisdictions with red light camera systems in place as of January 
         1, 2013, to have these signs posted no later than January 1, 2014. 
          According to the author, this provision would help to reduce the 
         frequency of red light violations by providing drivers with 
         specific notice and information regarding intersections they are 
         about to enter.  

          Finding of fact  :  In an effort to prohibit local jurisdictions 
         from installing red light cameras merely to raise revenue, this 
         bill would require that local jurisdictions operating red light 
         cameras to establish uniform guidelines for screening and issuing 
         violations, as well as for the storage of confidential 
         information.  The bill would also prohibit a local jurisdiction 
         from considering revenue generation when evaluating whether or not 
         to operate a red light camera system.  The local jurisdiction 
         would also be required to make and adopt a finding of fact that 
         establishes the need for the system at a specific intersection for 
         safety-related reasons.  

         Opponents note that this bill does not require a local 
         jurisdiction to apply objective criteria when evaluating the 
         safety-related need and, in the absence of clear, objective and 
         uniform criteria, local jurisdictions and the public will not have 
         consistent measure of whether or not a given location truly 
         warrants the installation and operation of a red light camera.  

          Annual reporting  :  This bill also requires red light camera 
         vendors, in cooperation with the local jurisdiction, to submit an 








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         annual report to the Judicial Council that provides information 
         regarding the number and type of violations and citations issued 
         at red light camera intersections.  The information that vendors 
         would be required to submit includes the number of citations 
         issued by law enforcement based on the information collected, to 
         total the number of citations involving straight through 
         violations versus turning right and turning left, as well as the 
         number and percentage of citations that are dismissed by the court 
         and the number of traffic collisions at each intersections that 
         occurred prior to and after the installation of the red light 
         camera.  The author notes that currently this information is held 
         exclusively by red light camera vendors and that by requiring that 
         this information be provided to the Judicial Council, the 
         information would be more broadly available for public scrutiny.  
          
         Ability to dismiss citations  :  According to the author, the 
         provision allowing a citation to be dismissed was included in the 
         bill in response to a complaint brought forward by a constituent 
         who experienced a number of problems with being misidentified by 
         red light cameras in Southern California.  According to the 
         constituent, the vehicle captured in a red light camera photograph 
         was not hers nor was she the driver identified in the photograph, 
         however, because private companies were involved in the issuance 
         of the red light camera citations, demonstrating her innocence was 
         a lengthy and involved process.  To keep this problem from 
         happening to others in the future, the author included language in 
         the bill that would authorize a citing office to recommend to the 
         court that a citation be dismissed and would also authorize a 
         judge to dismiss the citation.  

          Courtesy notice (notice of non-liability) :  Courtesy notices are 
         not actual citations but instead are investigative tools to help 
         police determine the identity of the driver whose image was 
         captured by a red light camera.  When a police officer is unable 
         to match the photograph of the driver to that of the registered 
         owner, the officer mails the registered owner a courtesy notice 
         (sometimes called a "snitch ticket").  The form that is mailed to 
         the registered owner specifically requests that the registered 
         owner provide the name of driver of the vehicle at the time of the 
         alleged violation.  

         There have been a number of complaints about courtesy notices, 
         namely that the form that is used appears to indicate that the 
         registered owner is legally required to provide the information 








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         when in actuality, the registered owner of the vehicle is under no 
         such obligation to provide the information requested.  To address 
         this issue, the author amended the bill so that the courtesy 
         notice includes "This Is Not a Ticket" in the heading and deletes 
         sections that suggest that the vehicle owner is required to 
         provide the name of the person driving the vehicle at the time the 
         red light camera photo was captured.  According to the Assembly 
         Judiciary Committee, this amendment removed nearly all of the 
         opposition to the bill, with the exception of Safer Streets, LA, 
         which remains strongly opposed to the bill for a variety of 
         reasons.  

          Recent legislation  :  SB 29 (Simitian) of 2011, made several 
         changes to the laws regarding automated traffic enforcement 
         systems to ensure that red light camera programs are designed to 
         maximize traffic safety and are implemented in a lawful and 
         transparent manner.  That bill was vetoed by the Governor on the 
         grounds that the issues addressed in the bill should be overseen 
         by local elected officials  

         AB 1022 (Oropeza) Chapter 511, Statutes of 2003, added conditions 
         and restrictions to the use of automated traffic enforcement 
         systems.  

         SB 1136 (Kopp) Chapter 54, Statutes of 1998, repealed the January 
         1, 1999, sunset date, and extended indefinitely provisions that 
         allow the use of automated traffic enforcement systems at official 
         traffic control signals.  

         SB 833 (Kopp) Chapter 922, Statutes of 1995, authorized a 
         three-year demonstration period to test the use and effectiveness 
         of automated traffic enforcement systems in reducing the incidence 
         of drivers running red lights at roadway intersections.  

         SB 1216 (Rosenthal) Chapter 1216, Statutes of 1994, originally 
         authorized automated enforcement at rail crossings.   
          
          
         Analysis Prepared by  :   Victoria Alvarez / TRANS. / (916) 319- 
         2093 


                                                                 FN: 0005017









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