Red Light Cameras

One of the cameras at the intersection of Kimberly and Welcome Way keeps and eye in the sky on traffic. The red-light camera at Kimberly Road and Welcome Way is working again.

John Schultz

DES MOINES — A ban on red-light cameras left for road kill on the road to the Iowa Legislature’s funnel deadline has been seen limping toward the finish line.

Based on a high level of interest in the cameras and the proposed ban, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, referred House File 2214 to the Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

“I think there is a great deal of interest among Iowans,” Paulsen said Thursday. “I know there is interest in the chamber” for the proposal to ban the cameras used to enforce traffic laws at busy or dangerous intersections and monitor speeds on streets and highways.

At one point, he said, the bill had between 65 and 70 votes in the House, with Democrats putting up 15 to 20 of them.

“Every now and then,” Paulsen said, “the chamber needs to take a step backward and take a step forward and that’s what we’re going to do on this bill.”

Not every bill will get a similar chance for consideration beyond the legislature’s self-imposed funnel deadline today for non-money measures to clear one legislative chamber and a committee of the other to remain eligible for consideration this session.

Measures on online poker, requiring voters to show a photo ID and amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage were the most high-profile victims of the funnel deadline.

Also, Thursday, Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola, said his discharge petition to force a Senate debate on “stand your ground” legislation remains stuck at 24 signatures — all Republicans. He hoped to get two Democrats to sign to pull House File 2215 from the Judiciary Committee and place it directly on the Senate debate calendar. He circulated the petition after Sen. Eugene Fraise, D-Fort Madison, declined to take up that bill and other gun-related measures approved by the House.

That’s a huge disappointment for Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley.

“A lot of Iowans put a lot of time and effort into helping craft that language, helping get people motivated to support that language and I believe when you have 60 duly elected House members send over legislation like that, the Senate should give it a fair hearing,” Windschitl said. “I think for one Judiciary Committee chairman to say he doesn’t think it should pass, to be that’s an affront to the legislative process.”

Other funnel casualties included attempts to allow bars and restaurants more latitude in offering “infused” drinks and to limit the number of passengers in a teen driver’s car.

Both party’s priorities – education reform, commercial property tax reform, mental health reform and a handful of bills intended to protect Iowans from sexual predators — all survived the deadline and are likely to get further consideration. While there has been action on those issues, how the differences between the chambers will be resolved remains to be seen.

Lawmakers are scheduled to wrap up their work April 17 when their daily expense money runs out.

“The funnel is always kind of a mixed bag,” Paulsen said. “There’s obviously things we sent over to the Senate they’ve chosen not to pick up. We can’t do anything about that, so we move forward.”