Texas Sen. Williams - Do you know what the 4th Amendment of the Constitution is?
by Bob Price on March 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM
In a bill being brought forward in the Texas Senate for testimony this week, The Woodlands State Senator Tommy WIlliams seeks to attack your 4th Amendment rights with a bill that calls for police checkpoints for proof of insurance. Sorry Senator, this is a bad idea.I am all for enforcement of the law. Especially the law requiring drivers to carry insurance on their motor vehicles and to provide proof of this insurance at appropriate times. However, police checkpoints for the purpose of making citizens prove they are not breaking the law is a bad idea and is unconstitutional.
SB 1700 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday, March 30 in Rm. E1.016.
The 4th Amendment states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
SB 1700 states, "The department may establish a program for the purpose of establishing checkpoints to ensure that operators of motor vehicles in this state are not in violation of Section 521.021, 522.011, or 601.051." (requirement to carry liability insurance)
We do not allow the police or any government agency to require you to prove you are innocent of a crime. Rather, our system of justice is based on the premise that the government must have reasonable suspicion you are breaking the law and must then prove beyond reasonable doubt that, in fact, you are guilty.
This bill gives the police the right to assume you are guilty and force you to prove you are innocent. What is next? Prove you are not beating your dog? Prove you did not steal the digital camera you have in your car?
This law is a direct violation of the 4th Amendment and must be stopped. Contact your state senator and demand this bill not be let out of committee, or if it is, that it be killed on the Senate floor.
Sen. Williams, we sent you to Austin to guard our liberties, not trample them. If you want to increase the penalty for people who are violating the requirement to carry insurance law, that is fine. If you want to impound the vehicles of people who do not have insurance, that is fine. But don't make law abiding citizens prove they are innocent.
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