A San Mateo legislator is trying to give a break to drivers who use the beloved but illegal “California stop.”

Last month, the state Senate Transportation Committee approved 6-1 a bill by Democratic Assemblyman Jerry Hill that would lower the base fine for “California stops” from $100 to $35. With all of the state and court fees added on to traffic tickets these days, the actual total cost is $450 now. Hill’s bill would cut that to $200 to $250. For an example of how such fees can pile up, CLICK HERE.

Hill aide Nate Solov said the assemblyman is trying to correct what he considers to be an error in a 1997 law that targeted drivers going straight through intersections or making left turns on red lights. The law, which increased fines, also covered drivers making “California stop” right turns on reds, and Hill believes that shouldn’t have been the case, Solov said.

Also prompting the bill, Solov said, is a proliferation of red-light cameras in Hill’s district on the San Francisco Peninsula that are prompting tickets for drivers making “California stops” and lots of complaints from constituents. Solov called the red light tickets a “big cash cow” for cities.

Hill’s measure would reduce the “California stop” fine to what it was in 1997 — $35.

Hill’s legislation now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.