In a telling example of just how detached and overreaching government has become, the Colorado legislature is considering three different bills this year to require state government bureaucracies to treat citizens with some basic fairness and equity, and follow the intent of the countless other laws already on the books. In other words, to do the right thing.
House Bill 1077 would allow illegal police conduct to be introduced in Department of Revenue (DOR) driver’s license revocations hearings. As it stands now, even if the criminal case that led to a driver’s license being revoked is dismissed due to the illegality of the initial stop or arrest by police, that illegal conduct can’t be raised as a as part of a DOR administrative hearing to get the license back.
That’s right, the legislature has to codify that illegal government behavior matters as a defense against the loss of a hugely important privilege such as driving.
House Bill 1146 would require that when a court makes a factual finding of an identity theft victim’s innocence, that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation automatically modify that person’s law enforcement only and public criminal records to reflect that finding. The bill also creates of process for identity theft victims to submit a “records challenge” directly to the CBI to have their records modified.
The legislature has to make a special law to stop people from being victimized twice; once by the identity thief, and again while trying to clear their good name through the bureaucracy.
Senate Bill 30 seeks to ensure that regulations written to implement laws passed by the legislature actually match the intent and purpose of the legislature. Regulators would have to send over drafts of new rules to the lawmaker who sponsored the law, and to the committees that approved the law for review.
In other words, this is a new law to ensure that government follows the intent of all the other laws.
While all these bills seek to right wrongs, empower citizens and generally make government more accountable, they also should be entirely unnecessary in a constitutional republic where government is the servant rather than the master.
Mike Krause is Vice President of Operations at the Independence Institute