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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Red-light camera politics makes strange bedfellows



State Rep. Scott Randolph is arguably one of the most liberal Democrats in the Florida House. But Wednesday he found himself on the side of Rep. Rob Schenck, a Republican committee chairman who philosophically leans to the right of his colleagues.

It's part of the strange politics at work on the red-light camera issue. Schenck's bill (HB1235) to pre-empt cities and counties from installing red-light cameras narrowly won approval after a lengthy debate in the House Government Affairs Policy Committee, where Schenck is the chairman. Randolph cast the deciding vote (7-5) despite saying he supports red-light cameras, dumbfounding many opponents.

The Orlando lawmaker was the lone Democrat to endorse the bill, even though at least two of the Republicans who sided with Schenck indicated they were doing so, in essence, only because it is the chairman's bill. One more interesting note: Newly minted state Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, voted against the bill -- even though moments before she disclosed her daughter Ana Cruz, a campaign consultant, works for a red-light camera company.

Schenck's bill also contradicts an effort by Speaker Pro Tem Ron Reagan to allow cameras with uniform state rules. The two Republicans have a philosophical difference, Schenck said.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:30pm]


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