Red-light cameras in Milwaukee; bill to allow them revived

Red-light cameras and automated speeding tickets would be allowed in Milwaukee under a bipartisan bill put forward Tuesday, Jan. 31.

The controversial technique of using cameras and computerized radar to crack down on speeding and other traffic violations is unpopular with some drivers, and the measure failed both of the past two sessions of the Wisconsin Legislature.

An Assembly committee voted in 2019 to approve a similar bill, but it failed to gain traction in the Senate. Two years later, another iteration was introduced but never reached a committee vote in either chamber.

State Rep. LaKeshia Myers and Sen. LaTonya Johnson, both Democrats from Milwaukee, along with Republican Rep. Todd Novak, of Dodgeville, sponsored the newest bill. In an email Tuesday seeking cosponsors, they said automated enforcement would help police combat rising deaths from car accidents and reckless driving.

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Milwaukee has recently seen dramatic increases in traffic deaths, and some politicians have criticized local officials for being unable to put a stop to incidents of reckless driving that have plagued the city.

The bill would not allow police to issue speeding tickets to drivers caught on camera going less than 20 mph over the posted limit. It would also only allow the automated enforcement in Milwaukee, the state's largest city.