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updated: 4/30/2015 5:46 PM

Could red-light cameras disappear from some suburbs?

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  • A proposal to ban red-light cameras in some suburbs has been making headway, but it faces hurdles in the Illinois Senate.

      A proposal to ban red-light cameras in some suburbs has been making headway, but it faces hurdles in the Illinois Senate.
    PATRICK KUNZER | Staff Photographer

  • State Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, is pushing for a ban of red-light cameras in some communities.

      State Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, is pushing for a ban of red-light cameras in some communities.
    Jeff Knox | Staff Photographer

 
 

State Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, says he's staying optimistic that he'll win a hearing on a plan to ban red-light cameras from being used in some suburbs.

It's a popular idea because people hate getting those tickets, and the Illinois House approved state Rep. David McSweeney's plan in April to ban some cameras.

But there's a hurdle in the Illinois Senate, as Duffy knows well, because he's tried to abolish the cameras before.

"President Cullerton isn't a big fan of these red-light camera bills," Duffy said.

That's Senate President John Cullerton, the Democrat who has broad power over what legislation gets a vote and what doesn't.

Cullerton is the father of Illinois' required seat belt law and has clashed with Duffy over red-light cameras in the past.

What about this year?

Duffy and McSweeney's proposal would apply only to places without so-called home rule powers, usually towns with fewer than 25,000 people.

"Cullerton is reviewing the bill," Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said. "As a traffic safety leader, he has historically been opposed to outright bans on red-light cameras."

And what about Gov. Bruce Rauner? Rauner has proposed taking away half of the share of income taxes given to towns, so some towns might be looking toward income from things like red-light citations in the coming year. A spokesman didn't reply when asked the governor's opinion.

A Duckworth primary opponent?

"I think I could really bring something to the race that is unique to my background, and so that's what's really driving my focus on whether or not I should run."

That's Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp on whether she might jump into the 2016 race for U.S. Senate, creating a primary election contest against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

Democrats are vying for a chance to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park.

The race continues

Kirk was in the news this week saying Congress will keep pushing for sanctions on Iran.

"While the president may temporarily waive sanctions against Iran, only Congress has the power to permanently lift all 14 Iran sanctions laws," he said.

Meanwhile, as Zopp weighs a bid, Duckworth this week won the endorsement of Emily's List, a group that backs Democratic women for Congress. She also pushed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would remove Republican language delaying predatory lending protections for service members and veterans.

The Supremes

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this week spoke directly to a controversial statement Gov. Bruce Rauner made to the Daily Herald editorial board a few weeks back.

The country's high court upheld a Florida law that outlaws judges asking for campaign contributions.

"A state's decision to elect its judiciary doesn't compel it to treat judicial candidates like campaigners for political office," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. "A state may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor -- and without having personally asked anyone for money."

Rauner took heat from some legal groups when he answered a question at the Daily Herald editorial board saying Illinois Supreme Court justices were part of a "corrupt system" precisely because of campaign cash.

"We have a system where we elect our judges, and the trial lawyers who argue cases in front of those judges give campaign cash to those judges," Rauner said. "It's a corrupt system."

A few days later, Rauner told the Springfield State Journal-Register he wasn't trying to criticize anyone in particular.

"Sometimes I don't choose my words as perfectly as I might," the governor said. "But I'm a human being. I'm a very passionate person, and I'm fighting for the people of Illinois."

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