MAP-21 bill could revoke passports and force motor vehicles to be equipped with an ‘event data recorder’
By Brent Daggett
Contributing writer for End the Lie
“Every breath you take/Every move you make/Every bond you break/Every step you take/I’ll be watching you.
Every single day/Every word you say/Every game you play/Every night you stay/I’ll be watching you.”
Who knew that lyrics about an obsessive stalker could actually have some relevance in the area of government policy?
Unfortunately, the federal government of the United States of America is becoming increasingly like the Big Brother which George Orwell wrote about.
The purpose of MAP-21 is “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”
Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA) is the bill’s sponsor and she is urging for more bi-partisan support.
In a letter to Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-OH), which appeared on senate.gov, Boxer addresses her urgency.
April 10, 2012
The Honorable John A. Boehner
United States House of Representatives
H-232 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner,
We are writing to you concerning the recent warning by Standard and Poor’s on the severe economic and public safety consequences of unpredictable federal funding for the nation’s transportation programs. This report by Standard and Poor’s is another wake up call for the need for immediate action on a bipartisan transportation bill.
In order to provide stability and certainty as quickly as possible, the House of Representatives should take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
The warning by Standard and Poor’s underscores the serious risk posed by inaction and extensions to the nation’s transportation sector, and to the millions of jobs that rely upon it. Although the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.2% in March, the unemployment rate for construction workers stands at 17.2%, still more than double the national average. This report and the continued high unemployment rate for construction workers also illustrate the urgent need for action. We need to avoid controversy and pass a bipartisan bill that will be signed by the President as soon as possible.
The bipartisan Senate bill would reform our Federal surface transportation programs to maximize the ability of states and local governments to make wise infrastructure investments in highways and public transportation. These reforms include consolidating numerous programs to focus resources on key national goals, accelerating project delivery while maintaining important public health and environmental protections, eliminating earmarks, and providing accountability for how transportation dollars are spent by focusing on key outcomes, such as reducing fatalities, improving road and bridge conditions, reducing congestion, and making freight movement more efficient.
MAP-21 would also provide a stable source of funding without adding to the deficit and would enable Congress to work together on a longer term transportation plan, while at the same time averting a crisis that would put thousands of businesses and millions of jobs at risk.
The House must pass this legislation for the businesses and the working people of this country, for the drivers of cars and trucks, for the users of public transportation, for the safety of our families in this country, and for this economy.
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
While MAP-21 seems reasonable, there are flaws and they could prove disastrous for motorists as well as passport owners.
In section 31406, the bill calls for mandatory event data recorders to be installed in automobiles:
“a) Mandatory Event Data Recorders-
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part.
(2) PENALTY- The violation of any provision under part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations–
(A) shall be deemed to be a violation of section 30112 of title 49, United States Code;
(B) shall be subject to civil penalties under section 30165(a) of that title; and
(C) shall not subject a manufacturer (as defined in section 30102(a)(5) of that title) to the requirements under section 30120 of that title.
(b) Limitations on Information Retrieval-
(1) OWNERSHIP OF DATA- Any data in an event data recorder required under part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, regardless of when the passenger motor vehicle in which it is installed was manufactured, is the property of the owner, or in the case of a leased vehicle, the lessee of the passenger motor vehicle in which the data recorder is installed.
(2) PRIVACY- Data recorded or transmitted by such a data recorder may not be retrieved by a person other than the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle in which the recorder is installed unless–
(A) a court authorizes retrieval of the information in furtherance of a legal proceeding;
(B) the owner or lessee consents to the retrieval of the information for any purpose, including the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle;
(C) the information is retrieved pursuant to an investigation or inspection authorized under section 1131(a) or 30166 of title 49, United States Code, and the personally identifiable information of the owner, lessee, or driver of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved information; or
(D) the information is retrieved for the purpose of determining the need for, or facilitating, emergency medical response in response to a motor vehicle crash.”
The mandatory black boxes that will be put into automobiles if the legislation passes the House of Representatives, is being called into question by Judge Andrew Napolitano, who used to host the wonderful show Freedom Watch on FOX Business.
In an April 19 interview on Fox News, Napolitano expounded upon the unconstitutionality of this provision.
“Well it’s interesting that congress would try to do this because the police in the District of Columbia and Maryland did this not too long ago, where they put GPS devices in peoples cars without search warrants and the Supreme Court invalidated it. Saying it was an unlawful search, that quite frankly, it’s none of the governments business where the car is going and if the police want to know where the car is going, there has to be some evidence of criminality and they have to get a search warrant. And the Supreme Court didn’t make this up out of thin air, it’s in the constitution. The police just can’t investigate whoever they want to on a whim, or follow whoever they want to because they like following the person, there has to be some evidence of wrong doing on the part of the person they’re following.”
When asked about the mandatory event data recorders, in the private property aspect, Judge Napolitano stated:
“But, the police would be able to obtain the information inside the property using electronic means. Now question, can the police aim a beam at your car and extract information from it? Can they aim a beam at your house and extract information from it? The Supreme Court ruled on that last year and it said no. So this legislation flies in the face of what the Supreme Court has just ruled to protect our privacy. Now this legislation has not yet been signed by the president. It even isn’t, as you say, in the final form yet. But, the American public should be aware of what the government is trying to due to our privacy.”
This is not the only provision that should cause alarm.
“SEC. 7345. REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES.
(a) In General- If the Secretary receives certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that any individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport pursuant to section 4 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to regulate the issue and validity of passports, and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926 (22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as the ‘Passport Act of 1926’.
(b) Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt- For purposes of this section, the term ‘seriously delinquent tax debt’ means an outstanding debt under this title for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records pursuant to section 6323 or a notice of levy has been filed pursuant to section 6331, except that such term does not include–
(1) a debt that is being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement under section 6159 or 7122, and
(2) a debt with respect to which collection is suspended because a collection due process hearing under section 6330, or relief under subsection (b), (c), or (f) of section 6015, is requested or pending.
(c) Adjustment for Inflation- In the case of a calendar year beginning after 2012, the dollar amount in subsection (a) shall be increased by an amount equal to–
(1) such dollar amount, multiplied by
(2) the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) for the calendar year, determined by substituting ‘calendar year 2011’ for ‘calendar year 1992’ in subparagraph (B) thereof.
If any amount as adjusted under the preceding sentence is not a multiple of $1,000, such amount shall be rounded to the next highest multiple of $1,000.”
Angel Reyes, a constitutional attorney, believes the provision is an unconstitutional one.
“It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes,” Reyes told FOX Business. “It’s a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain US citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute.”
As one can see, a lot of legislation is being considered which can violate due processes, issues of privacy, searches and seizures to name a few. Will it be just a matter of time before the United States becomes a complete surveillance state?
[Editor’s note: we already lost our right to due process and if CISPA passes, what little privacy we have left will be thrown out the window with it. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, we essentially have no Fourth Amendment rights thanks to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) national security letters. In my view, legislation like this is just further ushering in the big brother surveillance state I have written about (along with the massive infrastructure created to sustain it) and further explicitly codifying our utter lack of rights in modern America.]
Edited by Madison Ruppert
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