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Friday, March 3, 2017

Idaho Anti-Profiling Bill

Monday, the Idaho House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 123 which reads: “No state or local law enforcement agent or law enforcement agency shall engage in motorcycle profiling.”
The Bill, sponsored by Representative Robert Anderst, above, continues: “For purposes of this section, ‘motorcycle profiling’ means 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 under the constitution of the United States or the constitution of the state of Idaho.”
Anderst bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Patrick McDonald, Ron Nate and Christy Perry. It will be co-sponsored in the Idaho Senate by Marv Hagedorn, Lee Heider and Patrick Marshall. All the sponsors are Republicans. It seems likely to pass the Senate.
And if it is signed into law by Republican Governor Butch Otter, Idaho will the third state, after Washington and Maryland, to formally outlaw motorcycle profiling. The Idaho bill does not require law enforcement agencies to rewrite their policies or require police to take classes so it has no fiscal impact. The sponsors have stated that the new law simply, “establishes a needed legal standard simply stating that arbi- trarily profiling motorcycle riders is not legal and defines what motorcycle profiling is. Because an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia does not mean that individual should be more likely to be detained or stopped by law enforcement.”


Anderst is a motorcycle enthusiast who rides about 10,000 miles a year and keeps a photo of his bike in his office. Last month he told Betsy Z. Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, “I was born into a family that rode motorcycles, so I’ve been around them my whole life. I have never had a bad experience with law enforcement on a motorcycle, but I also understand that that doesn’t mean these bad experiences aren’t occurring.”
He remembered attending a motorcycle event and being surprised to see police surveilling the participants. “I know for some of these people it’s an ongoing thing, so it gets a little, I guess, obnoxious,” he told Russell. “All the people that I’ve ever known in the motorcycle community are down to earth, hardworking, patriotic individuals. They respect the role that law enforcement plays. They just don’t want to feel like there’s an additional burden that they have to face in interacting with them.”

Civil Rights

John McCrostie, a Democrat who spoke in favor of the bill, thought it addressed an important civil rights issue. “No one should be profiled because they look differently,” he said. “When we heard HB 123 in committee, with a room that was literally full of motorcycle riders that were garbed in their biker regalia, it would have been easy just to support the bill out of fear that you were going to get beat up if you didn’t support it. But for me, I’ve taken time to get to know some of these people because they are my constituents, and some of them are my friends. I think it behooves the Legislature to remember that we are all different.”
“But when we take time to get to know each other in our communities, that’s when we learn that we share a common humanity. No one should ever be profiled, not because they’re LGBT, not because of their religion, and not because they’re bikers. We should add this 75 words.”