BOSTON (State House News Service) — The Senate temporarily dropped a controversial push Thursday to authorize deployment of red light cameras in Massachusetts following tense exchanges and a Republican parliamentary move that shut down debate.
One week after the Senate teed up a bill (S 2553) that would allow cities and towns to install automated intersection and school-bus cameras that photograph vehicles committing traffic violations, the legislation drew wary responses from some Democrats and from Republicans.
Sen. Ryan Fattman, a Sutton Republican, asked that the bill be laid on the table around 6:10 p.m., which under legislative rules automatically ends debate and pushes the topic into a future Senate meeting.
Fattman's request came after Senate Democrats on the rostrum appeared not to recognize Minority Leader Bruce Tarr's request to continue discussion and instead started a roll call.
(James Rojas/WBZ NewsRadio)
The bill is placed in the orders of the day for the next sitting, though it was not immediately clear when the Senate will take it up again. Senate President Karen Spilka departed before the end of the session, and her office could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
In the final vote before Fattman sought to pause debate, the Senate rejected a Tarr amendment that would have replaced permission for 10 communities to install cameras — already a pared-down version of the original bill — with a three-year pilot program in three to five cities or towns by a 19-18 margin.
Fourteen Democrats and four Republicans unsuccessfully voted in favor of the short-term pilot that Tarr proposed.
By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service