Friday, October 10, 2008

DPS Authors Identity & Checkpoint Rule Without Public Input


AUSTIN - Within a matter of days the Department of Public Safety has begun to initate policy and new rules regarding the use and regulation of both driver's licenses and checkpoints without public input. DPS, a state agency has decided to administer and move forward this agenda independent of public input. You may look to evaluations, decisions and internal battles settled during the Sunset Commission's Evaluation earlier this Summer .

McClendon and several other lawmakers want the sunset commission staff to propose a separate agency combining the DPS driver license renewal services and vehicle safety inspections that now are under the Texas Department of Transportation.
Putting those duties under a separate agency would free DPS and TxDOT "to do what they do best," McClendon said.

She expects a new agency that keeps a state trooper's presence at driver license offices under a civilian administration and business model.

Texas requires legal status for IDs, licenses
© 2008 The Associated Press
Oct. 8, 2008, 5:54PM
AUSTIN — People who aren't U.S. citizens must now prove they are living legally in the country before receiving or renewing a Texas driver's license or identification card.Under the new administrative rule, the Department of Public Safety will require immigration documents that prove a person's lawful status.

Texas Becomes Roadblock Battleground

Interest groups battle over roadblocks ahead of the 2009 Texas legislative session.

Interest groups are pressuring Texas lawmakers to authorize the use of roadblocks ahead of their return for the 2009 legislative session. The practice of setting up barricades on roads to stop and interrogate motorists suspected of no wrongdoing has been unlawful since a 1994 state appeals court decision ruled that a "politically accountable governing body at the state level" must first approve their use. Now Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has scheduled an October 23 deadline for briefs to decide the Texas Public Safety Commission's request to bypass this requirement and approve roadblocks on its own authority.

MEET - UP With the 5-11 Campaign for a Solution

You have just read shocking proof that our government wants our consent to make a checkpoint society part of our daily lives.

With incremental progress and voluntary consent from willing and/or unknowing citizens, they will have the level of policing required to dominate daily routines and freedom of movement we now take for granted.

The 5-11 Campaign is part of a "rapid response" coalition to give our answer that drivers license checkpoints could be interpreted as excessive force and a misappropriation of police and law enforcement resources.

THE CALL TO ACTION - Please Don't Wait

  • We ask you to examine the attached document with full consideration of your response to initiating Texas into a checkpoint society. We ask you to oppose this system without fear of intimidation, retaliation or recognition for being a group or individual who does so.
  • We ask you to document your opposition by issuing a letter representing your organization to the Attorney General's office & The Texas Department of Public Safety of your interpretation of the uses of these checkpoints.
  • We ask that you activate and organize your grassroots petitioners after defining your position on this issue to demonstrate their opposition by October 23rd to the Attorney General. 
  • Finally, we ask to be able to add your name with ours as comprehensive opposition to the use of checkpoints throughout the State of Texas we define at our meeting October 11, 2008 here in Austin. Even if you are unable to attend, we are still interested in adding your names and organizations to our coalition.  


Sunday October 12th, 2008 3 PM; Brave New Books, 1904 Guadalupe Austin, TX

If you are interested in circulating a documented petition, we suggest that you take independent action with your groups and to please submit signatures to the Attorney General. We feel adding your name to our coalition is a very effective show of opposition on this issue.

For more information about documenting your public input or efforts to general assistance in organizing, please feel free to contact.

Sheila Dean

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

REASON: Premature Real ID Obit Celebrates K.Albrecht


Here's to REASON, who didn't use enough of it, and maybe failed to realize that SB60 was just upon them in their Los Angeles backyards and that California is barely out of the woods as a State on this issue.


Texas Seeks Public Opinion on License Checkpoints

Texas Becomes Roadblock Battleground  c/o The

Interest groups battle over roadblocks ahead of the 2009 Texas legislative session.

Interest groups are pressuring Texas lawmakers to authorize the use of roadblocks ahead of their return for the 2009 legislative session. The practice of setting up barricades on roads to stop and interrogate motorists suspected of no wrongdoing has been unlawful since a 1994 state appeals court decision ruled that a "politically accountable governing body at the state level" must first approve their use. Now Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has scheduled an October 23 deadline for briefs to decide the Texas Public Safety Commission's request to bypass this requirement and approve roadblocks on its own authority.

Texas is one of fewer than a dozen states that currently prohibit warrantless searches of motorists. For that reason, the new president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Laura Dean-Mooney, made convincing the Texas legislature of the need for roadblocks a high priority for her organization.

"I have a special place in my heart for Texas," Mooney said upon taking the top job in July. "But so much more must be done. Passing interlocks for all drunk driving offenders and sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk driving would be a great start."

MADD came close to a legislative victory in April 2007 when the state Senate voted unanimously to establish the waterborne equivalent of a roadblock. The proposed "boating safety checkpoints" would have allowed police to pull over and question all recreational boaters on lakes within the state. The legislation would also have given police the discretion to use force to take a boater's blood to determine sobriety. The measure died when the state House declined to act on the bill.

The alcoholic beverage industry feels threatened by the chilling effect such draconian measures would have on sales of beer and wine at restaurants.

"By calling for roadblocks and mandating breathalyzers for first time offenders, regardless of their BAC level, MADD is ignoring the root cause of today's drunk driving problem -- hard core alcohol abusers," American Beverage Institute Managing Director Sarah Longwell said. "Because they are highly visible by design and publicized in advance, roadblocks are all too easily avoided by the chronic alcohol abusers who comprise the core of today's drunk driving problem. That leaves adults who enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, a beer at a ball game, or a champagne toast at a wedding to be harassed at checkpoints."

The possibility of innocent drivers being arrested at such checkpoints is increased by a state police policy that gives troopers an incentive to accuse motorists of drunk driving. In a June meeting of the Public Safety Commission, a twenty-seven year veteran of the state police testified about drunk driving (DWI) arrest quotas.

"Also, my second item, some of the troopers that have earned vacation and putting in requests for vacation are being told that their vacation request will not be considered unless they are getting a certain amount of DWIs," retired Trooper Coy Lorance testified.

The commission responded by attempting to get around the prohibition on drunk driving roadblocks by referring to them as "license checks." The group put in the request to the attorney general last month after receiving an inconvenient response from the state police chief.

"Mr. Chairman, you had asked at the meeting prior to... prepare a document that would relate the legal responses to conducting driver's license, registration, and insurance checkpoints," Department of Public Safety Director Thomas Davis testified in June. "I think it's the recommendation of general counsel that without the authority being granted by a governance is that we're not able to do that legally."

In a 2005 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that 99.29 percent of drivers stopped at state roadblocks were innocent. The results also showed that it took 53 percent more effort to make an arrest with a roadblock than to use traditional roving patrol techniques. Nonetheless, the court upheld the validity of roadblocks (view ruling).

The request letter sent to the attorney general is available in a 170k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Request for Attorney General Opinion (Texas Department of Public Safety, 10/6/2008)

Monday, October 6, 2008


DHS Satellite Spy Program Going Forward Despite Objections

RAWSTORY - The Department of Homeland Security has been given the money it needs to begin turning international spy satellites within the country's borders, despite lingering fears about the program's lack of focus and the potential for it to infringe upon Americans' civil liberties.

$1,500 fine for RFID Hacks in California

COMPUTERWORLD - October 2, 2008 (IDG News Service) This week, California became the second state to enact a law making it illegal to steal data from radio frequency identification (RFID) cards. The law, which was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday, sets a penalty that includes a maximum fine of $1,500 and up to a year in prison for someone convicted of surreptitiously reading information from an RFID card.

E-Verify & Real ID Under the Microscope for Government Waste

AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE - No deals, austerity, belt-tightening and accountability have been some of the words heard in the Congressional corridors and the White House as national leaders hear from their frustrated constituents. In the case of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit, public spending doesn't appear to be a concern.

Funds also will be used to support enforcement-only programs. Specifically, states will be provided funds for the implementation of the Real ID Act ($50 million), and the participation of local and state police in the 287(g) program ($5.4 million). Public dollars to the tune of $2.4 billion will go to the Office of Detention and Removal and the short-term approval of $100 million for the E-verify program. The E-verify program targets employers and requires them to ‘verify’ the employment documentation of their workers.


Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 4, 2008 -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced this week a traveler-centric desktop widget as part of the integrated "Let's Get You Home" advertising and outreach campaign. As the traveler's departure date approaches, the automated widget provides a trip countdown timer and weather at the traveler's destination and reminds the user to obtain appropriate travel documents, as required under Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean must present a passport or other WHTI-compliant document beginning June 1, 2009.

"We are using a wide range of media vehicles, in addition to television and magazine ads, to ensure that all segments of the population are familiar with the travel document requirements under WHTI," said CBP Assistant Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. "A digital strategy component allows CBP to reach audiences that are increasingly using the Internet as their source of news and information, especially related to travel. The widget, because it sits on the computer desktop, provides an ongoing and interactive reminder to travelers to get appropriate travel documents."

State and local: Election officials from five states, including Mississippi and Florida, are spending several days overseas talking to U.S. troops about voting in the election, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger relays. Texas deputies securing a clandestine pot field Tuesday found plants tied to stakes by tape bearing the TSA logo and the word “inspected,” The Houston Chronicle relays. Although damage reports from Tropical Storm Kyle were minimal, Maine emergency managers agree it was a great training exercise, The Bangor Daily News notes. “The benefits of enhanced identity protection will far outweigh the inconvenience of providing additional proof of identification,” The Ocala Star-Banner has Florida’s DMV chief assuring hopefully yesterday as Real ID-ready licensing measures went into effect.


To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 60 without my signature.

This bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), within 240 days after the Secretary of Homeland Security approves the state’s REAL ID implementation plan, to 1) issue drivers’ licenses and identification cards that are in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, and 2) issue drivers’ licenses that permit driving only to those applicants who do not provide valid documentary evidence of lawful presence.

This bill does not specify how DMV would validate the identity of individuals who do not have documented proof that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. I have previously stated that the ability to verify documents used to establish an identity must include a way to determine whether an individual is who he or she purports to be.

Given the potential impact of the REAL ID Act on the public safety and homeland security of Californians, members of my Administration continue to work closely with the federal government on these issues. Until the REAL ID Act is implemented and the federal government adopts comprehensive immigration reform, it is inappropriate to move forward with state law in this area.

For these reasons, I am returning this bill without my signature.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Zeitgeist Addendum