BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1303|
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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS


          Bill No:  SB 1303
          Author:   Simitian (D)
          Amended:  8/13/12
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE  :  8-0, 3/27/12
          AYES:  DeSaulnier, Gaines, Harman, Kehoe, Pavley, Rubio, 
            Simitian, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Lowenthal

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 4/30/12
          AYES:  Kehoe, Walters, Alquist, Dutton, Lieu, Price, 
            Steinberg

           SENATE FLOOR  :  38-0, 5/31/12
          AYES:  Alquist, Anderson, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Calderon, 
            Cannella, Corbett, Correa, De León, DeSaulnier, Dutton, 
            Emmerson, Evans, Fuller, Gaines, Hancock, Harman, 
            Hernandez, Huff, Kehoe, La Malfa, Leno, Lieu, Liu, 
            Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod, Padilla, Pavley, Price, Rubio, 
            Simitian, Steinberg, Vargas, Walters, Wolk, Wright, 
            Wyland, Yee
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Runner, Strickland

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  62-13, 8/23/12 - See last page for vote


            SUBJECT  :    Automated traffic enforcement systems (i.e., 
                      red light cameras)

           SOURCE  :     Author

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           DIGEST  :    This bill changes the laws governing automated 
          traffic enforcement systems to ensure that red light camera 
          programs maximize traffic safety and are implemented in a 
          lawful and transparent manner.

           Assembly Amendments  prohibit a governmental agency that 
          utilizes an automated traffic enforcement system and that 
          had signs posted on or before January 1, 2013, that met the 
          requirements in effect on January 1, 2012, from removing 
          those signs until the governmental agency posts signs that 
          meet the requirements imposed by the bill, and revise the 
          Notice of Non-Liability and Courtesy Notice.

           ANALYSIS  :    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 a law 
          enforcement agency, may operate an automated enforcement 
          system.  Under existing law, "operating" a system means 
          that a governmental agency, among other things, inspects 
          and maintains signs that warn drivers that an automated 
          enforcement system is in use.  These signs must either be 
          visible to traffic approaching an intersection where an 
          automated enforcement system operates or posted at all 
          major entrances to a city such as at freeways, bridges, and 
          state highway routes.  

          Prior to entering into a contract with a vendor to 
          implement an automated enforcement system, the legislative 
          body of the local government (e.g., city council or county 
          board of supervisors) must conduct a public hearing on the 
          proposed use of the system.  A contract between a 
          governmental agency and a vendor of automated enforcement 
          equipment may not include a provision for payment to the 
          vendor based on the number of citations issued or the 
          amount of revenue generated, unless the contract was 
          entered into prior to January 1, 2004.  

          Prior to issuing citations, an agency utilizing an 
          automated traffic enforcement system must make a public 
          announcement of the system and issue only warning notices 

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          for 30 days.  A peace officer or qualified employee of a 
          law enforcement agency reviews the photographs and issues 
          citations, as appropriate.  A citation results in a notice 
          to appear, a Judicial Council form that contains specific 
          information, including the name and address of the 
          registered owner of the vehicle identified in the 
          photograph, the license plate number of the vehicle, the 
          violation charged, and the time and place when the person 
          may appear in court.  The law enforcement agency must mail 
          the notice to appear within 15 days of the alleged 
          violation to the current address of the registered owner of 
          the vehicle.

          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 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 

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             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; 

             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: 


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             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. 

           Comments  

          According to the author's office, this bill was introduced 
          to protect the rights of Californians cited by automated 
          traffic enforcement systems.  To do so, this bill prohibits 
          the use of automated systems for the purpose of raising 
          revenue, requires that governmental agencies demonstrate a 
          safety need when approving the use of such systems, and 
          improves the means by which a person may challenge 
          citations issued in error.  The author's office contends 
          this bill is necessary to increase public confidence in the 
          purpose and fairness of red light camera operations.  The 
          author's office also suggests this bill will likely be 
          needed to address issues raised in two recent appellate 
          court decisions.

           Recent court decisions  .  The 2nd District Court of Appeals 
          in Los Angeles has published two decisions recently 
          concerning automated traffic enforcement 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 

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          the case was not qualified to authenticate video and 
          picture evidence, because the city has 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 different conclusion.  The panel determined that 
          testimony on the accuracy and reliability of computer 
          systems isn't 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.

          These conflicting decisions demonstrate a need for 
          clarification in statute regarding the evidentiary 
          standards required for prosecuting automated traffic 
          enforcement violations.

           Governor's veto  .  This bill is essentially the same as SB 
          29 (Simitian), which the Senate passed 38-0 on September 1, 
          2011, the Governor ultimately vetoed.  The Governor's veto 
          message indicates that, while SB 29 standardizes rules for 
          local governments to follow when installing and maintaining 
          red light cameras, the Governor feels this is something 
          that elected officials can and should oversee.  The 
          author's office indicates they are in discussions with the 
          administration and expects to find a compromise that the 
          Governor can support.  The author's office believes that, 
          in light of the recent court rulings and ensuing legal 
          ambiguity, the Governor may wish to sign a bill that helps 
          bring clarity to the prosecution of red light violations 
          while also increasing public confidence in the purpose and 
          fairness of red light camera operations.

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           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:  

           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.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/23/12)

          California Police Chiefs Association
          California Walks

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/23/12)

          California Traffic Defense Bar Association
          National Motorists Association
          North American Transportation Association Inc.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  62-13, 8/23/12
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, 
            Bill Berryhill, Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, 
            Brownley, Buchanan, Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, 
            Carter, Cedillo, Chesbro, Conway, Davis, Dickinson, 
            Donnelly, Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Furutani, 
            Galgiani, Garrick, Gordon, Gorell, Grove, Hall, Hayashi, 
            Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, Jeffries, Lara, Logue, 
            Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Miller, Mitchell, Monning, 
            Nestande, Pan, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez, Silva, Skinner, 
            Smyth, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Wagner, Yamada, John A. 
            Pérez
          NOES:  Beth Gaines, Gatto, Hagman, Halderman, Harkey, 
            Jones, Knight, Mansoor, Morrell, Nielsen, Norby, Olsen, 

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            Valadao
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Cook, Roger Hernández, Portantino, 
            Wieckowski, Williams


          JJA:dm  8/24/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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