Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big Radar Strikes Again

On Monday afternoon the Senate is likely to bring up and pass a proposal from the Godfather, Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino, which would outlaw the use of any device that would block or jam, by either mechanical or electrical means any radar or laser device used by a police officer to monitor vehicular speed.
On its face this proposal seems to make sense, as it is a nuisance, but a potentially life saving one. It feels like an idea on par with speed cameras that are impossible to get around.
Unfortunately, the bill is flawed and slightly corrupt, as was addressed in a recent Senate Committee on Transportation. In that meeting from the middle of January, the often eccentric dresser Democratic Sen. Bill Perkins noted that the bill doesn't target the people who sell these devices to unlawful users. The Committee Chairman, Sen. Charles Fuschillo, said that this topic was beyond the scope of the legislation.
(This divide makes sense if you embrace the idea that Republicans want to foster a good business environment while being all law and order and that Democrats want to protect you with a nanny state.)
Anyway, Senator Reuben Diaz, D-Crazytown, argued that the committee was protecting the rights of big business at the expense of the little people. He was then encouraged by the chair to address his own legislation (that will be blocked by the Republican majority because it isn't business friendly).
Side note: A committee staffer suggested that the radar devices banned only includes those that are plugged into a power source, which leaves open the possibility that radar devices that run on batteries or independent rage would be legal.

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