The Newspaper reports;
For years it had been a mystery how the Texas House of Representatives, 83 percent of whose members voted to ban photo enforcement, could nonetheless endorse the use of red light cameras. An ethical storm that broke around state Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) last month provides the answer. Harper-Brown, a Transportation Committee member, accepted unreported gratuities from a traffic camera firm in return for playing the decisive role in establishing the automated ticketing industry in the Lone Star State.
Over the course of four legislative sessions from 1995 to 2003, the House outright rejected all attempts to give legislative legitimacy to intersection ticket cameras. There simply was no way to pass the legislation in an open floor vote. The industry turned to Harper-Brown, who willingly snuck a one-sentence provision allowing municipalities to issue “civil” citations for traffic crimes into unrelated legislation dealing with commercial motor vehicle standards. Most House members did not notice the provision until it was too late and were furious at what they saw as an underhanded move — the vote to strip Harper-Brown’s language passed by a three-to-one margin. The state Senate leadership, however, protected the cameras by using a parliamentary maneuver. Governor Rick Perry (R) did nothing to undo Harper-Brown’s work.