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State Senate Passes Bill to Authorize More Speed Cameras in City

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The state Senate has passed a bill authorizing more speed cameras in the city, a top priority for Mayor Bill de Blasio as part of his Vision Zero traffic safety plan. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

New York City is getting 120 more speed cameras to help crack down on drivers who speed in designated school zones.

"I watched year after year in the legislature the reluctance to do these cameras," said Jeff Klein, the leader of the state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference. "I'm a firm believer that these cameras will save lives, and that's why I pushed really hard to make this a reality."

The speed camera bill passed the assembly on Monday, but its fate was not guaranteed in the senate.

On Wednesday afternoon, a hastily called meeting of the rules committee cleared the bill, which then moved to the full Senate floor for a quick vote after many lawmakers had already left the capitol. Many senators were forced to vote by proxy.

It was a big victory for Klein and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have both made speed cameras a big priority.

In a statement, de Blasio said, "This bill will bring us a critical step closer to achieving this administration's goal of zero pedestrian deaths in New York City."

Last year, Klein was able to push through a pilot program that authorized 20 cameras. That bill passed in the early morning hours of the final day of the session after lawmakers had voted through the night.

"It's always been controversial, but I'm a firm believer in pushing, trying and eventually succeeding, and I think that's what we accomplished here today," Klein said.

Some Republicans remain opposed, arguing that it's a civil liberties issue.

"Well that's the issue here. You had 20 last year, and now, it's not even a year later and they're looking to expand it to include another 120 cameras throughout the city of New York," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island. "Eventually, you won't be able to walk anywhere in this city without having a camera on top of you."

The latest bill also introduces speed cameras on Long Island for the first time. Nassau County already included the anticipated revenue in its budget, which gave Wednesday's vote additional urgency.

The state Senate vote was 51 to 9, overwhelmingly in favor. The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said previously that he will sign it.

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