Red-light camera bill held

TRENTON – Legislation that would tweak the state’s controversial red light camera program was held during an Assembly panel hearing Monday.

Lawmakers held a bill that would halt red light cameras from being used to issue tickets against motorists who fail to completely stop their vehicles when making right turns on red lights. The bill, A3579, would also slightly lengthen the duration of yellow lights.

“It isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon Jr., (R-13), who opposes the red light camera pilot program but supports the proposed changes.

“My preference is to end this program,” he said, arguing the pilot program was passed with “honorable but ill-informed intentions.”

“It’s kind of dissolved into a mess,” he said, telling fellow lawmakers that the public has “no faith” that the program is intended to be centered on safety rather than generating money.

Opponents to the proposal argued it would be inappropriate to “change the parameters” of the program half-way-through the pilot program.

Several law enforcement officials testified that eliminating the right on red rule would essentially take away from police enforcement. They are argued it would be a double standard to create certain rules at certain traffic signals.

The bill, which was sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, (D-19), was held after testimony.

Wisniewski said the bill needs more work before it is voted out of committee.

Natural gas refueling

Assembly lawmakers also released legislation that could require the state to have new vehicle refueling stations.

A3419 would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide compressed natural gas refueling and electric vehicle recharging stations at certain rest areas on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

A spokesperson for a clean water advocacy group spoke in opposition to the proposal, arguing it could deepen dependence on natural gas and, more importantly, hydraulic fracturing.

The group argues hydraulic fracturing poses a public health hazard.

Proponents of the bill said the proposal would simply encourage additional fueling options.

The bill cleared the committee along party lines after some Republicans argued it’s premature to pass legislation that would impose mandates without first knowing more about new refueling techniques.

The panel also released two other bills:

A3283 would authorize the distribution of special “Support our Veterans” license plates. Proceeds from the plates would support New Jersey homeless veterans’ centers.

The bill was released from the panel following a unanimous vote.

A3336/S1209 would permit New Jersey boat manufacturers to apply for Economic Development Authority loans for renewable energy technology, equipment or systems.

The bill was released from the panel following a unanimous vote.

Red-light camera bill held