Efforts to ban red-light cameras stall - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:14 am
Efforts to ban red-light cameras stall

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Efforts by the Iowa House to ban red-light cameras at busy intersections, including those now in Council Bluffs, have hit a roadbock in the Senate.

"It's unlikely it will find a favorable place in the Senate," Senate Majority Mike Gronstal said when the issue arose at Saturday's final Legislative Coffee of the 2012 session.

"What I've heard is that nobody likes them, but they are effective," added Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R-Council Bluffs. "I would be in favor of keeping them."

Fellow House member Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs, said the issue should be under local control. But she noted the bill remains alive in the House. Still, it would need to also pass the Senate for a ban to be put in place.

Other issues still active are education reform and commercial property tax relief, and Gronstal said he will do what he can to seek passage of those measures.

"It's about common ground, and that is what I'll focus on the rest of the session."




Gronstal

One issue of apparent agreement is a new requirement for annual teacher evaluation, instead of performing this function every three years. A House bill includes that new proposal, said Rep. Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia.

"The Senate agrees with that," the Democrat Gronstal said.

One issue brought up by the audience — that lawmakers said won't go anywhere — is imposing a fee on alternative fuel vehicles to help raise money for road repairs.

"It won't happen this year," Forristall said.

Gronstal said he opposes a fee because it would discourage the use of these vehicles aimed at helping the environment while reducing oil consumption.

With the session winding down, the local representatives concluded the coffee with a look back at accomplishments and goals for the future.

"Everybody has worked hard," Brandenburg said. "It's been a great session."

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