Lawmakers reject speed cams in school, hospital zones

Published: 5/19/2009 4:56 PM

SPRINGFIELD - Speed cameras will not be coming to Illinois roads anytime soon.

The state Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have allowed using cameras to automatically measure speed in school, park and hospital zones and issue tickets to speeders. The plan failed with 13 senators voting in favor and 35 voting against it.

State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, tried to convince fellow lawmakers that speed cameras would improve road safety.

"This is not Big Brother watching you. This is about safety in these particular zones and that's all this bill is about," said Link, the sponsor of the plan.

But during debate on the Senate floor several lawmakers openly mocked Link's safety claims and countered that the cameras were only about making money.

"The sponsor was given this bill by the people who only want to gouge the people of the state of Illinois. Gouge! Rob! Stickup! Get their hands in your wallet! Get both hands in your purse and take more of your money! It's not about the safety of the children," shouted state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Chicago Democrat.

"If we're going to go forward with this then we also ought to have a program that rewards good drivers," quipped state Sen. Mike Jacobs, an East Moline Democrat. "So the camera could take pictures of the people who do the right thing, write them a nice little personal note. I mean, how far are we going to go?"

State Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, said all camera enforcement is unconstitutional and that in addition to voting against speed cameras he plans to push for the removal of existing red light cameras in Illinois.

The rejected proposal was a modified version of an earlier Link plan that would have allowed speed cameras on nearly every road in Illinois. Link never called that plan for a vote.