Legislation to ban “motorcycle profiling” in Idaho won strong support from the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon, as members praised the bill’s backers and voted unanimously to send the measure to the full House; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
“This is the people’s house, and you are welcome any time, as is anybody who wants to come in and address their government,” Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, told the big crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts as she moved to approve the bill.
Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa, told the committee, “Today I’m presenting to you not just as a bill sponsor but as an advocate. For most of my life I’ve been in and around the motorcycling community.”
The bill, HB 123, defines “motorcycle profiling” as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle,” and forbids it.
“For years the motorcycle community has been working to propose legislation related to profiling stops,” Anderst said. “What you have before you today is a simple bill that addresses this issue.”
David “Double D” Devereaux of the Motorcycle Profiling Project traveled from Tacoma to speak in favor of the bill; Washington was the first state to ban motorcycle profiling in 2011, followed by Maryland. Advocates in Washington report that complaints of profiling have dropped by 90 percent since the law passed.
“There is no downside,” Devereaux told the Idaho lawmakers. “HB 123 simply prohibits motorcycle profiling. … It has no fiscal impact. … It also reduces the state’s exposure to civil liability.”
He said the bill passed unanimously in both those states, and won the support of law enforcement. “It helps repair the relationship between the biking community and law enforcement,” Devereaux said. “This bill just works. … It’s also very consistent with both the federal constitution and the Idaho constitution.”
Lane Triplett of the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety also spoke in support of the bill, calling it “a good beginning,” and saying, “There are but a few who engage in the practice of profiling.”
Anderst said, “This bill is about the future, not the past. Instead of lining people up to share their stories, the goal today is to take a step toward improving the relationship between law enforcement and the motorcycle community, not hurting it.”
Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, complimented the group on its strong turnout in support of the bill; backers waited quietly in the packed committee room for over an hour before their bill came up.
Hanks called it “a great outpouring of support,” and said, “We have several bills that we’d like to have people come and support. … I do commend you for coming in support of this, this is great.”
Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, said, “I do not like profiling of anyone.”
Anderst said, “We definitely aren’t the caricature sensationalized on TV. Just like any large group, we are made up of individuals … tradesmen to attorneys, truckers to clergy – even a few legislators. What I can say is that the vast majority are hardworking, productive members of society who want to be left alone.”