House passes anti-motorcycle profiling bill on unanimous vote

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The House has voted unanimously in favor of HB 123, Rep. Robert Anderst’s bill to ban “motorcycle profiling.” Anderst, R-Nampa, told the House, “For years, the motorcycle community has been working diligently to bring legislation to prohibit what are commonly referred to as profiling stops.” He said the bill does two things: Bans motorcycle profiling for the purposes of traffic stops, detentions or other actions; and defines it as “the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle, wears motorcycle paraphernalia. … In real terms, what is being asked is that law enforcement rely on conduct, not appearance or association, as a determination to initiate a stop of an individual.”

Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise, said, “The people addressed in this bill have chosen this lifestyle they’re engaging in.” He asked Anderst, “Does HB 123 grant these people special rights, or does it just protect rights they already have?”

Anderst responded, “This bill protects, is a constitutionally protected bill.” He said the measure is consistent with the Idaho and U.S. constitutions.

McCrostie then spoke in favor of the bill. “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.”

When another Democratic representative rose with a question for Anderst, House Speaker Scott Bedke, cautioned, “This needs to be germane to profiling motorcycle folks.” It was; Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, asked if the bill would alter enforcement of noise ordinances or exhaust emissions. Anderst said no.

HB 123 now moves to the Senate side. Two other states have enacted anti-motorcycle profiling laws, Washington and Maryland. Anderst said since Washington passed its law in 2011, profiling complaints have dropped precipitously.

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