The Volunteer State’s legislators have been exercising their Tenth Amendment rights by pushing for nullification on a number of fronts. The most recent effort is SB1485 which was introduced by Senator Mike Bell and unanimously passed by both houses of the state legislature. That legislation was passed by the Senate on January 27 by a vote of 37-0 and by the House on Tuesday by a vote of 91-0.
The legislation seeks to stop the federal government from illegal stops and seizure of DNA of Tennessee citizens. The bill reads in part:
No state, county, municipal or metropolitan form of government law enforcement officer shall participate in, lend assistance to, or be present in any official capacity at any voluntary motor vehicle checkpoint or stop conducted by a private company or research group to collect a human sample from consenting motorists stopped at the checkpoint for research or statistical purposes.
The human samples referenced are defined as “cheek swab, blood, or urine sample, saliva, hair or any other bodily fluid or exemplar from which the DNA of the donor may be derived and identified and for which a law enforcement officer would be required to seek a search warrant to obtain such sample.”
The legislation also is “applicable regardless of whether the checkpoint is funded by federal grant or contract with a federal agency and regardless of whether the motorists consenting to a giving a human sample are compensated or not.”
According to Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Lotfi, “Practically speaking, the bill would block roadblocks set up as part of a multimillion dollar federal study run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation based in Maryland operates the checkpoints, run by uniformed officers. Officers offer motorists cash for DNA samples, generally $10 for a cheek-swab and $50 for blood. Officers reportedly up the ante for motorists who refuse, offering $100. Furthermore, officers have been reported to force motorists perform checkpoint activities even after total refusal.”
“The federal government lacks constitutional authority to fund or run such a study, and there is no legal or constitutional requirement for state or local law enforcement to help the federal government carry it out,” Lotfi added. “This bill would nullify the effort in Tennessee.”
The bill now moves to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk to his signature.
Many of us believe all checkpoints, not just federal ones, are a violation of the rights of the people. To turn the tables on government employees, who express the sentiment, “If you’re not doing anything, what’s the problem?” I say, “If I’m not doing anything, why are you stopping me?”
This is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope they’ll carry that thought full circle and stop all roadside checks by local and state police.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.