What was a great idea in 1787 is no longer worthwhile to many Americans.
This morning I had the chance to speak at a House legislative hearing on HB 4011, which would repeal the 2010 red light camera law. The bill was sponsored by Re. Daphne Campbell. She has drawn flack recently once it got out that her husband had amassed several tickets from an automated for-profit device. I’ll write about that in a while.
What struck me today were several things. First and foremost was that many Americans have given up on the fundamental concepts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in exchange for existence, regulation, and the pursuit of safety. The committee vote today was 10 in favor of repeal, and 8 in favor of keeping automated for-profit law enforcement. Here are the 8. Under each name I will list the amount of money American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has given them; STR means State Representative and CHE means paid by check:
No ATS donations
No ATS donations
No ATS donations
Gibbons, Joseph "Joe" (DEM)(STR) 07/18/2011 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS, INC.
Goodson, Tom (REP)(STR) 12/19/2011 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS Goodson, Tom (REP)(STR) 10/29/2012 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS INC
Hooper, Ed (REP)(STR) 11/08/2011 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS, INC. Hooper, Ed (REP)(STR) 10/29/2012 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS, INC.
No ATS donations
Williams, Alan (DEM)(STR) 11/03/2011 500.00 CHE AMERICAN TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS, INC.
We are in the twilight zone politically: Every Democrat (plus 2 Republicans) voted against their Democrat colleague Daphne Campbell’s bill. The original camera bill in 2010 came to us from Republicans. Who would have ever thought it would be so popular with Democrats? Forget red vs. blue, this is red, white, and blue vs. green ($$$). I’ve decided these folks are actually part of the new “green” party, and it has nothing to do with the environment.
During my presentation this morning (which if you read the Orlando Sentinel and AP reports you would not know I was ever there even though I was the first speaker), I spoke about many things. I’ll focus here on the guilty until proven innocent aspect of this law.
The law (FS 316.0083) holds the owner of a vehicle liable for violations of this section. The law only allows certain excuses to let the owner off, such as a stolen car, an officer directed them through, etc. Of course, the owner can identify who had custody of the vehicle at the time by providing their personal info to the government. The owner’s options are simple- either pay the fine or finger another as the defendant.
I made note of this, and a subsequent speaker (and he was wearing green, pretty applicable), Orange County Sheriff’s Captain Michael Fewless (who is the same guy that wants to fly drones over football games and other events-“The only thing we can do is take a picture.”), told the legislators that contrary to what I said ALL tickets made people guilty until proven innocent. Since he mentioned me in this statement, I was able to rebut him and told the committee that every person I ticketed as a trooper I as the government had to prove they broke the law. They neither had to prove their innocence, nor prove my case against them, and that was not how the automated for-profit law worked.
This is a fundamental concept of American justice. It has been lost upon all of the above, and many comments I see in news articles- although several of these are no doubt for-profit company employees following in the footsteps of ATS VP Bill Kroske are likewise unaware of what this means.
If you cede that “for safety” (you can also substitute “national security” here for other things) we no longer need the government to prove wrongdoing or cause, this is not a slippery slope- it is the express lane to tyranny.
The America of our founders continues to die a little more with each passing day.
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