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Rep. Dunkin renews call for end to red-light cameras

State Rep. Ken Dunkin wants House Speaker Mike Madigan to let legislators vote on a bill that would eliminate red-light cameras and speed cameras in Illinois. | Sun-Times file photo

State Rep. Ken Dunkin wants House Speaker Mike Madigan to let legislators vote on a bill that would eliminate red-light cameras and speed cameras in Illinois, pointing to the recent federal bribery conviction of a former Chicago official who helped establish the city’s red-light camera program.

“All I’m asking today is for Speaker Mike Madigan to call House Bill 141 that’s been held hostage in the Rules Committee since last spring,” Dunkin, a South Side Democrat, said at a news conference Sunday at the corner of 76th and Stony Island in the shadow of a red-light camera.

About 30 supporters from the group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras stood behind Dunkin waving signs and chanting in support.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said Sunday he was not aware of the effort to block municipalities from installing red-light and speed cameras.

Dunkin insisted Sunday that he’s written several letters to Madigan imploring him to call the bill for a vote.

Dunkin claimed the cameras are a money-making scheme, do not improve safety and were born of corruption that was evidenced by the recent conviction of former Chicago Transportation Department official John Bills, who accepted bribes to steer business to the company that established red-light cameras in Chicago.

The conviction should create a sense of urgency for Madigan to call the bill for a vote, Dunkin said.

“There’s no (legislative) member in their right mind who would not support this legislation,” said Dunkin, who noted the highly unpopular red-light and speed camera programs allow for residents “to be gouged and to be played by the scam of the century.”

Fearing a backlash among voters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed during his re-election campaign in 2015 to remove 50 red-light cameras at relatively safe intersections.

Dunkin has been a thorn in the side of state Democrats. Late last year he refused to hold the party line to reverse social service cuts made by Gov. Bruce Rauner.