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KUSA - A bill that would ban red light cameras in the state of Colorado passed its first vote in a Senate committee Monday.

Senate Bill 181, proposed by Greeley Republican Sen. Scott Renfroe, passed through committee by a vote of 3-2 despite the testimony of police chiefs from around Colorado.

The bill would forbid cities and towns from using the automated traffic enforcement devices.

Police chiefs, in testimony to the committee, said the traffic light cameras have improved public safety. "It's a powerful tool for public safety and traffic safety," said Fort Collins police chief John Hutto. "In our community of Fort Collins, we have very strong data that shows before inception, to when we got the cameras in place and started using them, we've had some pretty dramatic improvements in traffic safety," said Hutto.

Renfroe says his data shows red light cameras don't lead to safer roads – they lead to deeper coffers for those who run them. "It's overwhelming support, all over the state, not just my constituents," said Renfroe. "We're getting emails, phone calls, walking down the street people talking about it.

People don't like these cameras, they think they're about revenue, they don't think they improve safety. And, I think they're right," he said.

The bill is now headed for the Senate floor.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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