The Nassau Legislature's GOP leader Sunday called for hearings into whether the Suozzi administration misled legislators about the scope of the red-light camera program.
Legis. Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) said lawmakers were led to believe the red light program was intended only for those who went through red lights. After a report in Sunday's Newsday about motorists who received camera-issued tickets for right-hand turns on red lights without coming to a full stop, Schmitt said the Democratic majority should hold hearings to find out why that aspect of the program was not disclosed.
"The do-nothing Democrat majority should call for a hearing on this program and force [Nassau County Executive] Tom Suozzi to come back from wherever he's campaigning to put some order into his administration for the safety of the residents of this county," Schmitt said in a statement.
The red-light program was approved unanimously by the 19-member legislature in May, and cameras were installed at 18 intersections in August.
Suozzi said the program enforces state law.
"When Peter Schmitt and the GOP call for a hearing, you can always be sure that Election Day is less than 60 days away," Suozzi said. "The issue in Nassau County is property taxes, not whether or not we should enforce the law."
Presiding Officer Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove), issued a statement that did not directly address whether lawmakers were misled.
"The primary reason we voted to install red light cameras at high volume intersections was to reduce traffic accidents and save lives," Yatauro said. "If you are making a right turn at a red light, whether there is a camera there or not, you must come to a complete stop before turning."
Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who has criticized Suozzi aides for giving the impression that right turns wouldn't be penalized, said Sunday that he may now be able to support enforcing such penalties. He said he was told the program uses video, not just snapshots, reducing "the margin of error, which was my concern." With Jennifer Maloney