Mimesis Law
15 December 2017

The Passenger’s Curse Under New Arizona Bill

February 8, 2017 (Fault Lines) — On occasion, one hears something so wrong, blatantly stupid, mean and so downright villainous, that one is forced to poorly paraphrase Mark Twain and:

 …step outside and cuss for ten minutes just to get the taste back in your mouth.

As it turns out, I was still cussing when I came back inside. Why? Because of Arizona House Bill 2305 and the guy who sponsored it, Republican Representative Anthony Kern. Why should anyone care? Even if you don’t live in Arizona, it’s laws like these that rot this country from within. Inch by inch, they chip away at the already disintegrated freedoms that once existed.

Luckily, it has yet to become a law, as some people actually have concerns about the harm it could cause. What harm, you ask? It criminalizes riding as a passenger in a car without an ID. That’s right: Jumping in the car with your wife to run down to the store to score some Huggies for Junior and not having an ID could land you in jail for four months and a $750 fine. Unless you can show up to court and prove you had a valid ID at the time of the ticket, in which case do you think they would let you go scot free after you wasted the court’s time in their sincere effort to enforce this horrible law?

Don’t count on it.

Who will this law affect? Mostly people of color, since black people are more heavily targeted by law enforcement. They would be a source of revenue if they have no ID. It offers the cops another reason to harass people since making them up on the fly can be taxing on the law enforcement brain. Deputy Pima County Attorney Kathleen Mayer thinks it’s a swell idea because it will help cops, and therefore help her, prosecute more people and suck their marrow for fine money.

It could also serve as an ad-hoc immigration enforcement scheme as someone who is say, not from around those parts and has no ID, can certainly not show up in court later to show the judge their ID. Of course, police officers would have the discretion to arrest people on the spot, seeing as how it’s a misdemeanor, not just a traffic infraction. Plenty of cop shops in Arizona wouldn’t mind holding onto someone a few extra days so the feds can get around to picking them up.

Will anyone else be affected?

Arizona State legislators? Nope.

Police Officers? Nope.

Rich People? Let’s see:

Cop: Good evening sir this is a fine Bentley your are driving, do you have any Grey Poupon and would it be too much to ask your lovely and expensively jeweled companion to show me her ID?

Rich Guy: Just a second while I call Representative Kern.

Laws like this negatively affect everyone but the people who introduce and support them. Who hasn’t lost track of their wallet or purse for a day or so? Checking online and seeing no transactions on your accounts tells you it’s in some stupid place right under your nose like in the refrigerator, laundry hamper or between the seats of your car, and now these people want to extract your money and threaten your freedom over it.

Most people have their faculties in enough order to never be caught as a passenger without their ID. But if it happened and this bill became law, you would have to miss work, go to the courthouse and show your ID to the judge or clerk of court, and you can bet there will be some sort of monetary extraction. Such a law would not serve the people of Arizona. What’s worse is that some pin-head legislator in some other state might now think it’s a good idea for his or her state.

Or some nastier version of it.

I hope the people of Arizona do the right thing next election. Send Anthony Kern packing just for introducing this bill. Anyone who votes for it, vote them out too.

11 Comments on this post.

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  • CLS
    8 February 2017 at 10:44 am - Reply

    The “grey poupon” line made me snicker.
    And I’m in agreement with you. This is a horrendous piece of legislation worthy of kicking any Arizona legislator who supports it out of office.

  • Leroy
    8 February 2017 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Holy, Papers Please!

    Are they actively trying to make the US into a Soviet Block wannabe or just so utterly incompetent and banal as to think this is in any way a good idea?

  • Jim Tyre
    8 February 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    My thoughts about this Bill cannot be typed on a G-rated blog. However:

    While I claim no knowledge of the AZ legislative sausage, it looks as if the Bill failed two days ago. Is that correct, or does it still have life?

  • Greg Prickett
    8 February 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Even if passed, the law won’t pass Constitutional muster.

    • Thomas H.
      8 February 2017 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Ahhhh, if I only had a dime for every time I’ve heard that phrase uttered before.
      I would love to believe that you are correct sir, but ofttimes history can be a real bitch.

    • Eric
      8 February 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      I too would love to believe you are correct, and my instinct tells me you are. Do you have any more information on how exactly it would be unconstitutional?

      My sense is that the whole thing is nonsense. Our society differs from others in that we do not require ID to leave the house. While we may as a society decide to change that, in the meantime we should be consistent. This legislator claims that cops need to know who they are interacting with. Well, why write a bill that only applies in cars then? If it’s such a problem not being able to identify people, then why not write a law that covers all instances? (of course I’m not in support of that)

      • Greg Prickett
        8 February 2017 at 11:01 pm - Reply

        Laws that provide that people have to identify themselves to police, absent reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime have been universally held to be unconstitutional.

        • RDHschmidt
          9 February 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

          That would be Hiibel v. State? Also wouldn’t it also violate the “No internal passports shall issue” clause?

          • Greg Prickett
            10 February 2017 at 3:49 pm -

            Hiibel would be one of them. Brown v. Texas is another.

            What are you talking about in re “internal passports?”

  • Ross
    8 February 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    I assume this means that cops are going to start arresting all of the children riding in cars who fail to produce the appropriate identification. Who knows, there could be something hidden in that suspiciously large diaper, and the officer needs to know whether that toddler has a warrant.

  • Fault Lines Friday Fail
    17 February 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    […] to you by our Fault Lines Contributors. Last week’s “winner” was Arizona Representative Anthony Kern for attempting legislation that would make you a criminal without possessing proper identification. […]