(Click here for a little video that we made on the way home)
Testimony before the House committee hearing on SB9:
We made a last minute, whirlwind trip to Austin, I had to wait and see if donations came in to pay for the trip! I'm so glad we went. Besides speaking at the hearing we were able to meet with others working for our freedom and visit some legislator's offices.
After testifying I was approached by a member of Sen. Williams staff who assured me that those terrible REAL ID elements had been removed from the bill. I am distressed that they were even there in the first place - introduced and co-sponsored by Republicans. It's in the Rep party of Texas platform - they are against REAL ID. Some may say we were overreacting, but we have learned from past experience that anything can happen up until the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute. We have seen it with TxDOT and the Trans Texas Corridor (not dead and renamed) bills, amendments slipped in at the end that totally voided all our hard work. If they even thought about the implementation of REAL ID and random check points (this has come up in other legislation) then we needed to cry foul as loudly as possible - only then do we get their attention and help stem the tide of tyranny.
A gentleman spoke who came here from Ethiopia in the early 1940's, he fought for the US in WW2. He said he came to live in a free country and we aren't free anymore. He was very passionate and emotional as you can imagine. He is the perfect example of how others can see what's happened here, but too many of us native born Americans have become accustomed to it little by little like the frog in the kettle, we haven't noticed how hot the water has become.
If we don't stand up and say NO - the state as well as local and federal government will continue to bleed us dry and control us more and more, by littles.
Here are my rough draft comments I distributed to the committee members: I didn't have a chance to say much when testifying, I was rushed and interrupted by the chair, oh well, I did what I could. (I put these down quickly while getting ready to leave Monday night, didn't have time to polish and fine tune.)
Several reasons I oppose any legislation that brings us further into compliance with the Federal REAL ID ACT.
1. Unfunded mandates, the people can't take anymore increases in fees/taxes, etc.
2. Unlikely to help curb illegal immigration with our porous borders and welfare/public services/citizenship incentives, mainly it will serve to hassle and harass law abiding people.
3. Collecting finger prints of law abiding people is an invasion of privacy (I know this has been done for several years, and I protest it).
4. Check points for any reason other than road blocks for specific crimes/criminal suspects ie: man hunt - UNCONSTITUTIONAL
5. GPS tracking without court order - UNCONSTITUTIONAL
6. Federalizing state databases UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It is the duty of the state government to protect her citizens from the Federal government. Whether it's REAL ID, no child left behind or mandatory health care.
7. When will Texas stand up to DC and say NO to these encroachments? Do you realize that we are becoming a more and more controlled society? We are looking more and more like the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. We aren't free. If you aren't part of the solution then you are part of the problem. You work for us, not the Federal government. You work FOR us, we don't work for you. In the testimony before the Senate hearing an assistant to the director of DPS/License bureau referred to us as customers. We aren't customers if we have no choice in whether we do business with you. We sure aren't customers if we can go to jail for refusing to do business with you. After the War for Independence can you imagine George Washington or Thomas Jefferson being stopped and checked for their papers or obtaining a license to ride their horse to town or church?
Yes, we live in very different times, but I put it to you that many of the evils we face are a result of government actions and more government actions will not solve the underlying problems. It's the classic Hegelian Dialectic. Cause a problem, provoke a reaction, and provide the solution. The real result is more and more tyranny.
Campaign for Liberty has 18,988 members in Texas. The overwhelming majority of our members oppose this legislation.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~Benjamin Franklin
Interesting tibbits from our visit to Austin:
One fellow named John came to testify. He was wearing a t-shirt that said "TYRANNY - enough is enough". While going through security he made some comment about the technology used these days, the trooper didn't care for what he said, I suppose. He was detained and had his photo taken. He was late to join us and told us what happened. After we were done with the hearing we went to file a complaint with the DPS office there in the building. We traipsed into the supervisor's office - about a dozen of us. There is a video of it, I hope to see it posted somewhere soon. It was quite interesting, especially the fact that there was an "assault rifle" (I'm guessing that's what it was) propped up in a corner just inches from where my daughter ended up standing. (we were crowded in and some of us were in the doorway).
Another fellow with us was given a hard time by a trooper at the security check point over his hair style. One of our group later made the comment (paraphrased) "How do you like that? Coming into to your own house and being insulted by your hired doorman? " How inappropriate is that?
It was an interesting day.