PHOENIX — A bill approved by the state House Monday could eventually force the removal of Tucson's most controversial red light cameras.

The legislation would require cities seeking to install or maintain the cameras on state highways to prove that they are "necessary for the public safety of this state.''

Existing photo enforcement sites could remain -- at least for the time being. But HB 2477 spells out that the state Department of Transportation has to review the data every three years.

More to the point, if that review does not show any improvement in safety at that site due to the cameras, ADOT can force the city to remove them.

The legislation, approved on a 47-12 vote, is a compromise of sorts between lawmakers who want to outlaw photo enforcement entirely and those who say these decisions should be left to the state.

Nothing in the legislation crafted by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would bar cities from putting speed cameras on their own streets. The same is true for cameras designed to catch those running red lights.

But state highways -- anything with a route number -- are within the purview of ADOT. And Lesko said she wants to use that leverage to ensure that the devices are being installed to reduce accidents, not simply to generate revenues.

The state itself used to have photo radar on state highways, installed at the behest of then-Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Read the rest of this story in Tuesday's Star.