Wednesday, June 25, 2014
It has come to my attention, that the Bill I mentioned the other day, the Road Guard Bill is still being pushed by it's proponents. That's their right. But I have read the Bill, and it makes me wonder if the most vocal supporter of the Bill has done more than glanced at it. I have seen an editorial he wrote that makes claims for the Bill which aren't substantiated when you actually read the document. Which leads me to believe he hasn't read it very closely, or is just going on hearsay. I am not sure which. To me, his comments in defense of the Bill (HB2494) are either the misinformed assumptions of someone who has been told about the Bill, or intentional misinformation given for some unknown reason. Below is a link to the complete text of HB2494 in a .pdf document. After you read it (it's a short Bill), I will add some of the comments being made about what the Bill will do. Perhaps you can find in the Bill where it says what he says is true. I haven't been able to, and I've been looking.
Okay, have you read the page and a half long Bill yet? I hope so, because now I am going to show you how far from the truth some of the misinformation being put out about this Bill is. After each quote about this Bill, go through it, and see if you can find where it states in the Bill what it is claimed to say. If you find it, PLEASE let me know, because I haven't been able to. I will emphasize the points that aren't in the Bill that I can find. Alright then, let's get this shin-dig on the road, here goes:
1. "Last January, a bill was introduced to the House and Senate
that would allow groups of 20 or more motorcyclists to provide
their own road guarding under certain conditions."
That is the first sentence of the editorial about HB2494. And it already is giving false information. There is no mention in the Bill of groups "of 20 or more motorcyclists". It only mentions "group". So in the opening sentence it is already inaccurately stating what the Bill will do.
2. "This would require some advance planning on the part of the
organizers of the group ride and the plan would be submitted
to the proper agencies for review."
Again, there is no procedure stated within the Bill who the "proper agencies" are. It DOES mention the "Washingtonn State Patrol or local law enforcement", but only says if they are "unavailable to control vehicle traffic". By inference, the ride route would have to be submitted to the WSP or local law enforcement. But the Bill does not state procedure, or the cost incured by having WSP or local law enforcement provide escort services. They certainly won't be doing it for free.
3. "There is nothing that says that you must absolutely use this bill if
it becomes law. It is just another choice available to you, should
you decide that it fits your needs. Opponents to this bill failed
to disclose this fact when they were making statements all over
Facebook and writing letters and making phone calls to legislators
saying how terrible this bill is. This bill would provide you
with another legal and lawful choice."
Section 4 pretty well says it all. "A violation of this section is a misdemeanor." So if the Bill becomes law, and you perform road guard duties without a certificate you are susceptible to being arrested on a misdemeanor charge. It doesn't say who violates it, just that violation is a misdemeanor.
4. "Another thing that opponents were saying is that Road
Guards could be arrested and go to jail, according to the bill.
This is simply not true. What the bill states is that if the driver
of a car does not obey the directions of the certified road guard,
that driver would be subject to a misdemeanor citation. Even
that would not send someone to jail. I don’t even know where
that came from."
Where does it even say anything about the "driver of a car" not obeying the certified road guard? As for going to jail for a misdemeanor, if you are found guilty of a misdemeanor in Washington state, there is supposed to be a minimum of 24hrs mandated, and up to 90 days. I know, I've experienced that personally.
5. "ABATE of Minnesota recently passed a Road Guard Bill in
their State, as well as ABATE of Ohio and ABATE of Illinois.
The Patriot Guard Riders are very much in favor of this bill, and
it is approved by the MRF, and the AMA."
The state of Minnesota did pass a similar Bill. However, they have yet to even finish making the rules for their system. Illinois passed their Bill, and it became law effective January 1, 2014. However it is in a similar position as Minnesota, and the system in notorganized yet. As for Ohio , the Bill in thae state has been introduced, but as of the last time I checked, it had not yet been passed. It seems that most of the problems extend from the rule making agencies having difficulty trying to get a handle on some of the details. Bureaucrats given the opportunity, will always take a simple concept and make it as complicated as possible. It seems that is the current situation in Minnesota, where it has been over two years since their similar Bill was passed into law, and the rules for the program are still being worked out.
6. "Nobody is required to use it, but it would be there if your group wanted it."
If it becomes law, everyone would be required to obey it. Just as the Helmet Law requires a person to wear a helmet whether they want to or not. A citizen not obeying the Road Guard Law, would be in violation. As I pointed out earlier, the penalty for violating the Bill if it becomes Law is a misdemeanor. Currently it is only a ticketable offense. This Bill would increase the penalty for anyone who violates it.
A lot of misinformation within this editorial. I am not sure if it is intentional or not, and don't really care. It is quite possible that the author of the editorial is using the concept behind the Bill to make their point. He certainly isn't using what the Bill states. Check it out for yourselves, read the Bill, and compare it to the six points I showed you. If you agree with me that this is a poorly written Bill, that can have undesired consequences, oppose it. If you disagree, by all means, show me where I am wrong. Let's discuss it.
We don't need anymore restrictions on our ability to ride when and where we want to without government involvement or control.
Catch you on the road sometime...