Hickenlooper Slams Brakes on RoboCop Reform

DENVER, Colo. -- Senate Republicans are expressing dismay and disappointment with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s veto of two bipartisan bills aimed at curbing abuses of red light and speed camera technologies, arguing that the governor is out of step with most Coloradans on this issue. 

One of the vetoed bills, SB-276, would have banned all use of such technologies. The other, HB-1098, would have required voter approval before deployment. But the governor made good on his vow to kill the measures, bowing to municipal leaders who’ve come to rely on these machines as revenue generators and lobbied hard against these bills.

"I'm disappointed that the governor chose to ignore the legislature's strong bipartisan support for this bill," said Senator Tim Neville (R-Littleton). "Results from numerous studies showing these traffic surveillance cameras do not increase safety and instead trample due process rights of Colorado citizens. Protecting these important rights should rate ahead of protecting one more governmental revenue stream."

Hickenlooper presented scenarios in which he might be more inclined to approve Robocop restrictions in the future. And bill backers from both chambers indicated that they intend to weigh Hickenlooper’s critiques and revisit the issue again next year, suggesting that the debate is far from over.

"I wish that we could find common ground with the governor on this because voters across Colorado are really frustrated with red-light cameras," said Senator David Balmer of Centennial, who vowed to begin working on ideas earlier with colleagues next year. "I think it became a stronger effort once we shifted to allowing voters to decide. Going forward, the discussion is always going to be about a bill that would allow voters to have a say."

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