The red-light camera debate that has been ongoing in Illinois got a bit more dramatic this week when one of the leading opponents of the cameras was caught violating traffic laws--on camera.
Sen. Dan Duffy, Republican from Lake Barrington, is one of the most outspoken critics of the cameras. But as the Transportation Committee debated a bill to reform camera laws, committee chairman and Senate President John Cullerton aired some oddly personal video.
To demonstrate the tricky issue of right turn on red violations, Cullerton showed clips of two violations captured on camera -- committed by none other than Senator Duffy.
(Scroll down to watch video of Duffy's red-light violations.)
Duffy has been trying to abolish the red light cameras. But the revelations about his own violations may take some of the air out of his sails. On the same day as the committee held its debates, the Daily Herald reported Duffy's dilemma:
Duffy said he wrongly received a ticket from a red-light camera in Schaumburg. He said he stopped behind the line and inched forward before making a turn because a utility box obstructed his view.
The video plainly shows otherwise. And while Duffy accuses the Democratic leadership of playing politics with his personal life to avoid the issues, it appears to have worked: the bill that came out of the Transportation Committee was significantly watered down from Duffy and his allies' proposals.
Meanwhile, some questions have arisen about the legality, or at least the propriety, of obtaining and showing the videos. From a separate Daily Herald story:
The Senate President pointed to a portion of the red-light camera law that allows the videos to be turned over for "governmental purposes."
"It was obviously used for government purposes," said Cullerton, who acknowledged red-light cameras in Chicago had cited his own vehicle and that he'd paid the fines without contest.
A Schaumburg attorney said the request for the videos was reviewed, nothing was found in the Freedom of Information Act to exempt the information, so it was turned over. However, upon further review of the red-light laws, assistant village attorney Rita Elsner, said Tuesday the policy would change.
"We will be updating our rules to make sure no others are released," Elsner said.
Watch Sen. Duffy's traffic violations: