Funding Missouri Schools with Red Light Cameras

Rebecca May, KMOX Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Senators pushed back a vote Wednesday on a bill that would take revenue from photo verification camera fines and give it to  Missouri public schools.

An extended debate on another issue, forced Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, to move his bill to the informal calendar.

Kraus introduced the bill last month, but it was brought up for a  second reading during a Governmental Accountability Committee hearing  Wednesday.

Traffic fines currently go to the city and Gatso, the traffic light  installation company.  One third of the money goes to Gatso, while the  other two-thirds is given to the city where the violation happened.   Missouri charges $120 for traffic camera violations.  In 2011, Gatso  received $54,076 from Columbia.  After police personnel, court and  prosecution costs, the City of Columbia received $18,047 in 2011.

Kraus said safety is not the issue to the opposition, but losing  revenue for the opposition’s district.  The bill’s sponsor continued  saying all of the Senators in opposition are from regions where red light cameras bring in a large sum of money to their area, and this bill  would take it away.

“Don’t put in speed cameras or red light cameras to raise revenue.   It’s a hidden form of revenue that I think is unconstitutional and  unfair,” said Kraus.

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