Leon Valley asks state lawmakers to nullify red light camera contract

Although red light cameras are illegal in Texas, the city is still obligated to fulfill its contract through 2039, according to lawmakers.

LEON VALLEY, Texas — Leon Valley and Balcones Heights are among the last four cities in Texas with red light cameras.

In 2019, the city of Leon Valley extended its contract through 2039, but months later—the state made red light cameras illegal.

For the second time, the city is asking for state lawmakers help to get out of the contract.

The cameras can be found at 14 intersections in Leon Valley, most of them are along Bandera Road.

A Texas State Senator and State Representative who represent the city have filed bills to nullify the contract.

“I had two councilmembers come to my office and said look, this is a huge deal for us. We’ve campaigned on this, we’ve talked to many members of the community, nobody likes these things,” State Senator Jose Menendez told KENS 5.

Under state law, a local authority may not issue a civil or criminal charge or citation for an offense based on the photos from the cameras.

“The legislature has pulled out any penalties that can come from this ticket,” Senator Menendez added.

According to a resolution from Leon Valley, the city approved an extension of the contract on April 1, 2019. On May 20, 2019, Governor Abbott signed the bill banning red light cameras, but the contracts were grandfathered in.

“When we passed the law in 2019 which prohibited all red light cameras, we included a small provision allowing for current contracts with these municipalities to finish out,” State Rep. Philip Cortez referred to Leon Valley, saying the city took advantage of the loophole.

Last month—Leon Valley City Council–made up of entirely new members than the body who voted on the contract extension–passed a resolution that would support the passage of their elected leaders’ bills.

It could put a stop to the stream of money going to the vendors and the city.

“I think the data has shown that they do not in any way impact traffic safety…As motorists are trying to stop to avoid the red light camera ticket. And so they’re braking quicker and thus causing more accidents,” State Rep. Cortez said.

The bills, with relatively simple language, are currently assigned to committees in the House and Senate.

The contracts with Leon Valley and Balcones Heights could be nullified if the law passes.

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