State Senator Bill Carrico is a retired Virginia State Trooper. Unfortunately, it appears he has been more interested in representing his old buddies at the VSP in the Senate, than he is in representing his constituents and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
The trouble all started in 2013 when Ben Cline’s anti-indefinite detention bill (HB2229) passed the House of Delegates 83-14 on its first attempt. This bill would prevent Virginia citizens from being tossed in a hole without trial, charge, or representation, and place power in the hands of the local sheriff to keep his citizens safe from violations of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. The bill then went to the senate and passed out of committee 14-1.
Before the bill could be voted on for final passage, it was passed by for the day 5 times. Here’s a hint, that doesn’t happen without somebody pulling some strings. When it finally was given a vote, “Police State Bill” amended it, and it passed the Senate 31-9. His amendments, they ripped the teeth out of the bill and took the sunlight provisions out that would’ve disclosed all of the Memorandums of Understanding between the Commonwealth and the feds. Why would he have done that? The math is pretty simple: the feds didn’t want the bill to pass – even though the bill would’ve done nothing unless the feds violated it, so they went to the VSP to ask them to carry water for them. The VSP went to their good buddy “Police State Bill,” and he decided to emasculate the bill to please the VSP and thus the feds.
Remember, this is the same VSP that got called out by Atty Gen Ken Cuccinelli because they were using automated license plate scanners to scan and build a database of citizens going to a political rally in 2009. Think about that for a second.
In 2014, the same anti-NDAA indefinite detention bill passed the House of Delegates 99-0, but was killed in committee by the Dems in the Seante. This year, the bill (HB2144) passed the house 96-4, and will be going back to the Senate. A sharp eye and lots of pressure needs to be put on “Police State Bill” to keep him from doing the same thing on the floor of the Senate again this year.
There are a couple of other bills of note that add to Bill Carrico’s VSP legislative legacy. Not the least of which is the bill he carried (SB684) that would’ve required a criminal conviction before law enforcement can engage in civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is where the cops take your stuff (usually literally on the side of the road), and then you have to go to court to prove your innocence in civil court before you can get it back. The reason it’s in civil court is because there is less of a burden that law enforcement has to reach in order to win the case. In short, not only are you literally presumed guilty until proven innocent, but you are barred from having the taken assets to assist you in your fight to have them returned, and the law enforcement agencies get to keep some of your stuff after they take them and then hit you with every accusation they can – all without ever having to prove you actually committed a crime. They just have to show that you MIGHT be a criminal, not that you actually ARE a criminal. And then they get to keep your stuff.
So, it is into this environment, that “Police State Bill” took SB684 and saw it unanimously PBI-ed (Passed By Indefinitely) in a committee that his party controls. That doesn’t happen unless a sponsor asks for it to happen.
There was also his vote on SB919 for secret administrative subpoenas to allow law enforcement to poke around in your online activities and even financial records if they felt it would be helpful. Sure, the subpoena would be disclosed if you asked for it to be, but how are you supposed to know to ask for a secret subpoena to be disclosed when you don’t know it exists in the first place? Yes, he voted for it.
“Police State Bill” also carried SB754, which will provide a nice little vehicle registration fee hike (remember folks, fees increases are tax increases that politicians want to pretend aren’t taxes) of $1.25 per year, every year, from now 2015 through 2024. Does anyone want to take a guess where that extra money will go? If you said the VSP, you’re a winner.
Now, let’s look at the sister bill to SB684 from the House of Delegates, that would halt civil asset forfeiture without a conviction. That bill is HB1287 by Delegate Mark Cole. It passed the House 92-6 and was sent to the Senate.
In the Senate it passed the Courts of Justice Committee 12-2, and here’s where the games begin. It was sent to the Senate Finance Committee. Let’s be clear – this bill wasn’t sent to a House Appropriations committee or any other finance committee in the House before being voted on for final passage. This bill was sent to the Senate Finance committee to die.
Being sent to the Senate Finance Committee does one very important thing – it admits that they consider this a financial bill and not a bill about due process, even though this bill is entirely about due process. They want your money and assets, don’t care how they get them, and are admitting that policing for profit is important to them and that this bill might get in the way of that. This bill has a 99% chance of dying in Senate Finance Committee unless you act and hammer the phone lines to the committee members. One other interesting tidbit you may want to take note of. Take a guess as to who might be on that Senate Finance Committee that is not on the Courts of Justice Committee. If you said “Police State Bill” Carrico, you are right! Guess who also stands to lose a lot of money if civil asset forfeitures are required to have a conviction before they can happen? If you said the Virginia State Police, you are right!
The sad truth of the matter is that Police State Bill now has a record of voting to benefit the VSP over the Bill of Rights and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s not hard to connect those dots. Perhaps it’s time for the citizens of Southwest Virginia to have a senator that represents them in Richmond, instead of representing the Virginia State Police at their expense.
To contact the Senate Finance Committee members:
Stosch (Co-Chair), 804-698-7512
Colgan (Co-Chair), 804-698-7529