And no, you don’t have to pay the ticket.
Oh my. What confusion has been wrought by another recent television news story about the red-light camera saga of Humble and what drivers should do when a ticket shows up in the mail.
Sgt. Jack Burt is the administrator with the Humble Police Department Traffic Enforcement and says payment is optional, but let’s start at the beginning.
“Have you read House Bill 1631 yet?” Burt asks with a commanding voice that does not require a response. “In that House Bill we had adverse language in our contract. There are certain cities that could not get out of their contracts because of the way our contracts were written. There are only four cities left in Texas. Humble is one of those cities.”
The bill in question was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2019, ending the state’s use of red-light cameras but including a provision that provided municipalities with existing contracts to honor their word. Humble is, until the contract expires in July 2024. They have nine cameras that are triggered by moving vehicles when traffic lights turn red.
“In 2019 when Governor Abbott signed 1631 to make these illegal it took all enforcement action away from cities that still had theirs,” Burt says. Paying a citation that arrives in the mail, he says, is optional. “We have no enforcement action,” he adds, should the owner of the registered vehicle choose not to pay the fine. “There is no penalty for non-payment.”
“We are changing our BRQ’s,” Burt says with an authority that does not inspire asking what a BRQ is. Usually it’s a Budget Request Questionnaire, submitted when officials are making a budget change, so we’ll go with that. “We are modifying our second notice. The delinquent notice will state there is no penalty for non-payment. We are adding that to the delinquent notice.” Burt made the change last week. It’s a matter of the company that is contracted to administer the tickets adding the language before sending the notices from now until July 2024. The City of Humble is said to collect millions in revenue in each year since 2019 by those who opt to pay the fine, but payment cannot be enforced. Go figure.
Humble Police have a fine FAQ link should you have any further questions. Sgt. Burt welcomes additional questions.
photo: Getty Images