The Illinois House of Representatives: Red-Light Cameras and Speaker Madigan

The Illinois State House of Representatives has approved a ban on red-light cameras in the state -- except for in Chicago, where the issue has drawn vocal opposition. Mark Fitton, a reporter for the Illinois News Network, explained.

Fitton writes:

SPRINGFIELD -- A bill to greatly reduce the number of red light cameras in Illinois rolled through the state House on Wednesday.

After about an hour of debate, Rep. David McSweeney's measure, House Bill 173, passed by a vote of 79-26.

The bill prohibits red light cameras in non-home rule communities. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, it would put the brakes on the cameras in 35 communities in eight counties where the cameras now are allowed: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will.

The legislation would not affect Chicago, which is a home rule community.

McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said the cameras originally were sold to legislators and the public with the idea they would greatly reduce serious-injury accidents, but they have not.

Instead, he said, studies have shown the cameras increase rear-end accidents by as much as 22 percent.

In many communities, the cameras stay up only because they produce revenue from traffic tickets, McSweeney said.

"This is something the people of the state of Illinois are fed up with," he said. "We need to ban these red light cameras."

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, concurred, saying he regretted his vote several years ago to allow the cameras.

"I was lied to; I was duped," he said.

(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.)

State Rep. Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) is the speaker of the House, the body that passed the red-light-camera ban. The executive editor of the Illinois News Network, Scott Reeder, said Madigan is especially concerned with power.

From Reeder:

SPRINGFIELD -- One of the questions I get asked most often as an Illinois political reporter is: "What is Mike Madigan really like?"

The best answer I can give is this: If one were to look up the word "shrewd" in the dictionary, you'd likely see Mike Madigan staring back at you.

Last year, he called for cutting taxes on businesses. Now he's calling for jacking up taxes on millionaires.

Just why he would treat one group of job creators different from another? Who knows?

But no one should be surprised.

I've been covering Madigan since 1987.

The one thing I've learned about him is he values the accumulation of power over adherence to any particular principle or philosophy.

The only thing that counts at the end of the day for him is this question: Will it help more Democrats get elected to the Illinois General Assembly?

Policy is a secondary consideration for a man who has been in the Legislature longer than many of his fellow lawmakers have been alive.

In fact, no state legislative leader in the history of the United States has been in power longer than Michael J. Madigan.

(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.)