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08-28-17

Update on Motorcycle Profiling

By Charles C. Umbenhauer
In a news release by the Motorcycle Profiling Project which was published on July 5, 2017 by David “Double D” Devereaux incorrectly stated the following “The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) an organization largely made up of ABATE chapters nationwide, is committed to combating motorcycle profiling and discrimination against motorcycle club colors. In 2015, ABATE of PA was advocating for House Bill 1580, an anti-motorcycle profiling bill that 47 legislators sponsored. How can the current ABATE of PA be so far off the mark relative to their own advocacy in 2015, the rest of the country, the movements mission, and constitutional liberties? “

Here is what happened in the fall of 2016. I attended a COC meeting in Malvern, PA and I spoke privately with Double D and Mike DiFurio, president of the Delaware Valley Chapter. Also Tom Detrick my assistant at the time attended. Tom and I were not privy to what was discussed during the COC meeting but what I gathered from my meeting with Double D was the fact that the profiling bill which was in the House Judiciary Committee appeared to be planning to hold a public hearing on the bill but it was not scheduled until the Spring of 2017. The 2016 two year session of the legislature was scheduled to end in November of 2016, that meant that even if we could have quickly had a public hearing, there was little time remaining to schedule a House vote and also having to move the bill through the Senate. Therefore, we really had no choice but to offer a new bill in the upcoming 2017/18 session which we did. In PA the Legislature has a two year session in which to act upon any bills that are introduced. Point being that the COC were not happy with having to wait for the hearing. However, at that meeting I was directed to stand down and that the COC would take over the bill from that point. I did as directed.

Let’s just jump ahead to present day. The motorcycle profiling bill was introduced a second time on March 22, 2017 at the request of ABATE of PA. The bill House Bill 917 was sent to the House Judiciary Committee but has not been brought up for a vote. The bill’s prime sponsor Representative Garth Everett introduced the bill aimed at making police aware of, and “sensitive to” a form of profiling he says is pervasive in the state. He is referring to “motorcycling profiling”, or the act of law enforcement officers targeting motorcyclists because of their preference of transportation.

“The issue and existence of motorcycle profiling is irrefutable and making our law enforcement professionals aware of and sensitive to the issue will address the problem,” Everett wrote in a co-sponsorship letter, citing statements from motorcyclists.

“Motorcycle profiling, like any other form of profiling, is a problem in PA that can and should be remedied by education and awareness.” “Targeting a class of individuals because of characteristics defined by protected expression violates all reasonable constitutional conceptions of free speech, association, equal protection and privacy.”

Much of the above was extracted from a front page news article in the Carlisle Sentinel on July 7, 2017 entitled “Banning motorcycle profiling.”

ABATE of PA is actively pursuing HB 917 which will abolish motorcycle profiling in the Commonwealth of PA.

Members who are interested in helping to move this bill out of the Judiciary Committee may send letters to Chairman, Representative Ron Marsico at PO Box 202105, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2105. Keep your letters brief and polite and ask the chairman to consider allowing the committee to vote on HB 917.

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