During the 1999 Texas legislative session, a legislator shamefully withdrew his photo enforcement bill after his colleagues suggested each mailed citation be emblazoned with big red print saying, “Big Brother is watching you.” Behind the scenes, Dallas metroplex ticket camera companies Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) were busy influencing new friends ($$$$$) to help establish highly profitable red-light camera programs.
The 2001 legislative session was no more friendly toward Big Brother than in 1999. It was becoming clear that RLTCs would not be welcomed through the front door. Later that year, on behalf of the city of Richardson (Dallas) Representative Tony Goolsby asked then Attorney General John Cornyn if a home-rule city could adopt an ordinance to change a red-light violation from criminal to a civil penalty and allow camera enforcement? “Absent specific legislative authority” Cornyn said no to the civil penalty. However, despite his job to protect the Constitution, the AG said it was permissible for RLTCs to “identify criminal RLVs.” [Opinion No. JC-0460, February 8, 2002]. Criminal RLV tickets would have created a tornado of controversy.
By 2003, the ticket camera companies gained influence ($$$) in the 31 member Senate. The much larger 181 member House still remained 4-1 against cameras. A trick play was crafted. Late in the 2003 session, exhausted legislators struggled with multiple bills and approaching deadline. “Republican Representative” Linda Harper Brown (Dallas area, again) attached an unexplained rider to a trucking bill. The bill rider would allow cities to change traffic violations from a criminal to civil penalty. No mention of red light ticket cameras was spoken of, or stated in the bill.
The legislature unknowingly passed a bill that opened the door to camera enforcement, a practice they opposed by a 4-1 margin. Many still feel betrayed. Wasting no time, Garland began exploiting their citizens with ticket cameras on September 17,2003.
Since that time Camera fraud has spread effortlessly thoughout the State of Texas. It is important to note the rider that was placed on the trucking bill to reduce a criminal violation to a civil violation to help insurance costs in the trucking industry has not been utilized one single time to help truckers across our state. The application of the rider on the bill which introduced red light cameras into the State of Texas was all based on a Lie!