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A traffic camera monitors the traffic signal on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

NASHVILLE - The Senate version of a bill banning unmanned traffic enforcement cameras no longer would eliminate cities' use of the devices.

As amended Wednesday by the Senate Transportation Committee, the bill sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, would simply impose new restrictions on traffic light and speed camera use.

In the future, speed-enforcement cameras could not be used to issue citations to drivers unless the vehicle is going at least 15 mph above the posted speed limit.

Another provision prohibits traffic camera citations except in cases where the signal's yellow caution light lasts at least six seconds.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, called the changes a compromise.

"Today we're one step closer to driving red light camera operators out of Tennessee," he said in a statement. "Extending yellow lights to six seconds at these intersections will cut down on accidents and spare citizens the frustrations of these frivolous tickets."

Meanwhile, the House version of the original ban bill was amended and then sped through that chamber's Transportation Committee on a 9-7 vote. It bans all cameras although cities like Chattanooga, which currently have contracts with vendors. would be allowed to continue until their agreements expire.

The amendment makes the ban apply to city-owned and operated cameras as well.

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