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Plan to ban red-light cameras in Colorado moves forward

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DENVER -- A bill approved by a House-Senate negotiating committee would ban red-light cameras statewide after this year.

The measure calls for a stricter ban than earlier versions of the bill, which could have allowed continued red-light camera use in school zones and construction zones.

The latest bill puts lawmakers on a collision course with Gov John Hickenlooper's veto pen.

Under the compromise measure, red-light camera will be banned in the state by the end of this year.

"The most recent studies show that red-light cameras when they're installed at traffic intersections increase rear-end collisions," said State Rep. Steve Lebosck, D-Thornton.

Lebsock wrote the new bill with bipartisan support from lawmakers in both houses.

"Current law allows red-light cameras on every single signalized traffic light in the state of Colorado," Lebsock said. "That to me is a violation of your civil liberties and your family's privacy."

But Denver police said they have seen a decrease in serious accidents at some intersections with red-light cameras and want to use more.

"We would like the opportunity to be able to deploy that resource when we see fit and where we see it as Denver grows and as roadways change," Denver police Lt. Robert Rock said.

Critics call the cameras a backdoor tax. But police said enforcement is the answer.

"So if it's not about public safety and it's violating people's privacy, then we need to do away with it," Lebsock said.

The latest ban gets rid of all red-light cameras, replacing an earlier version that allows them in school and construction zones. Hickenlooper vetoed two similar bills last year.

"I'm sure the governor will be thoughtful and read the new bill and make a decision about what he thinks is best," Lebsock said.