Friday, January 29, 2010

How a simple seat beat law can blur the line of State Sovereignty

There are two bills (SB 9 and HB901)in the VA General Assembly this session that propose to strengthen the current VA seat beat laws. Currently, Virginia seat belt law is a secondary offense, meaning you can only be ticketed if you are stopped in relation to another violation. The proposed bills would make the seat belt law a primary offense allowing police officers to stop motorist who drive without wearing a seat belt without any other violations.

The senate bill SB 9 is sponsored by Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake has passed the senate with a vote of 24-16. An excerpt from the Richmond Times Dispatch article:

Blevins, a former high school principal, argued passionately in committee for the passage of the legislation, saying it would save lives and protect motorists, especially teens.

Opponents of the bill suggested it would give police the ability to pull over motorists without justifiable cause. Law enforcement, insurance and motor vehicle lobbies also supported the legislation, which now heads to the House of Delegates.

On the surface, this bill appears to be no big deal. If it passes the police have another way to help protect your life. Well being a good Patriot, I could not leave this alone. Why is the General Assembly, with the tough budget cutting they must consider, spending time on this bill?

Answer: Federal Funding

This article in USA Today from April 13, 2006: Federal safety funding sways few states. An except:

A study released last month by the National Safety Council — a public-private partnership of automakers, insurance companies, government agencies and others — buttressed prior research. The study found that crash victims in states with primary seat belt laws have a 17% greater chance of surviving than those in states with only secondary laws. NHTSA says seat belt use averages 11% higher in primary-law states.

To encourage tougher seat belt laws, Congress included in last year's[2005] federal transportation bill $498 million in grant money that would go to states that have a primary seat belt law or maintain a seat belt use rate of 85% or better for two straight years. Each May, states determine the rate by observing samples of drivers and counting how many are belted.

Please pay special attention to that last sentence, this is yearly funding. EVERY YEAR! The first year that this special funding was available only a few states, Alaska, Mississippi and Kentucky, changed their seat belt laws primary laws to receive the funding.

According to another USA Today report from 2009. So far:

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia now have "primary" seat belt laws, which allow officers to stop people solely for not wearing seat belts; 21 states have "secondary" laws, which permit police to ticket motorists for not wearing seat belts only if they stop them for another offense. New Hampshire has no seat belt law for adults.

Legislators in Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont and Wisconsin are debating primary seat belt laws; measures to strengthen seat belt laws failed this year in states including Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and New Hampshire.

Financial pressures have left states more open to the idea of strengthening seat belt laws this year, says Melissa Savage, a transportation analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Florida is eligible for $35 million in federal funds, Arkansas for about $9.5 million.

This is exactly how the federal government is encroaching over the state governments and the state legislature has no one to blame but them self. “We the People” must wake up to the tax money shell game. This is not the only law that has federal money tied to it, remember when the national speed limit was mandated at 55, and I am sure there are a myriad of others laws yet to be uncovered.

The other concern that I have is how disconnected the State Legislature has become to these type of dangling carrots. Do they not understand that this money is coming from citizens of the state? Just because they don’t raise our taxes it will directly affect either our national debt and/or our federal taxes. Every “innocent” law they pass that sells one of our freedoms to the federal government our state sovereignty slips further and further away.

But just to show you I am not a heartless conservative, if the General Assembly is really concerned about our lives, go ahead and change the law. Then earn the trust of your constituent by NOT taking the federal money, because it belongs to the individual tax payer!

Now is the time, Patriots, contact your representative whether they are Democrat or Republican, state and federal, let them know we are ON to their scheme. Pressure them to repeal this budget item and to look for others like this.

This is just a symptom of the overall problem and the cure is coming on Nov. 2nd 2010.

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