Public Comments for: HB79 - Traffic offenses, certain; issuing citations.
I do not support any bills that criminalize folks
On behalf of our volunteers and members, the Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative strongly oppose HB 79, HB 122, and HB 759, and would ask that you vote NO on these bills. These bills would disproportionately affect black & poor citizens. Data released by the Virginia Community Policing Act shows that black drivers are the only racial or ethnic group in the state that are stopped by police at a higher rate than their share of the population. Black drivers are also more likely to be pulled over for minor offenses such as equipment violations. We believe that because black constituents are the most affected, they have the right to have a say in bills that would repeal the provisions made since 2020 to stop police officers from engaging in these minor stops. Limiting interactions between law enforcement and citizens saves bodily and monetary resources and increases the safety of officers who face uncertain situations whenever they pull over any vehicle. It also increases the safety of black drivers whose lives are at risk whenever they are pulled over by a police officer as we have seen in too many cases where excessive and/or deadly force was used in these sorts of traffic stops. Finally, reinstating the provision that states law enforcement may stop, seize, and search based upon marijuana odor contradicts the widely lauded legalization of marijuana in Virginia creating the potential for scenarios where someone who doesn’t even partake in marijuana consumption or partakes in a legal amount, could still be subject to invasive (at the very least) searching. For all the reasons stated above, please vote NO on HB 79, HB 122, and HB 759. Thank you so much for your consideration, hard work, and service to the Commonwealth.
I strongly oppose HB 79. This bill is an effort to further entrench racist policing.
Please pleas be peaceful, show mercy, be fair, do not revert to aggressive policing. Do not support HB79. Also 122 0r 759 Criminal justice reform is non partisan, I have been a republican for years. I support the landmark legislation that limits pre textual stops. I want to reduce any race-based traffic stops. I have bi-racial grandchildren who are peaceful, but at risk if you allow pre textual stops. Allow them the freedom to move about unharassed by police who want to more aggressively policing brown people. It lead to great injustice. Criminal justice should not be political. Have mercy!
I am writing to you to request you strongly oppose HB 79 and any other HB that may go against legislation passed and that took effect on March 1st, 2021 that limits race-based traffic and pedestrian stops. The current legislation is what the Commonwealth of Virginia needs in order to be considered fair and just to all. Racially based stops have no place in our Commonwealth, and in our nation as a whole. Having the current legislation in place ensures that all Virginians can feel safe and not feel like he or she will be discriminated against by our law enforcement officers here in the Commonwealth. Former laws allowed law enforcement officers to utilize pre-texual stops to unjustly search Virginians, disproportionately stopping and searching more Black and Brown citizens of the Commonwealth. Under the current law, this disproportionate number of stops for Black and Brown Virginians is decreasing, meaning the current law is working. Please continue to allow the current law to make our Commonwealth a more fair, equal and just place by opposing HB 79 and similar HBs like HB 122 and HB 759.
I strongly oppose this legislation. Long overdue strides are being made to stop the disparate treatment of low income individuals and people of color and we cannot allow those efforts to be reversed.
I am in strong opposition to HB 79. On March 1, 2021 legislation went into effect in Virginia limiting racist pretextual stops and searches. Data already shows racial disparities in traffic stops are decreasing. Please don't undo Virginia's progress on making our criminal justice system more just. Thank you.
I am writing the House of Delegates to strongly urge that they block the repeal of laws banning pretext traffic stops for minor infractions (HB79, HB122, and HB759). Repealing these laws will put minorities in danger of being stopped and wrongfully detained. I know this to be true because it happened to one of my good friends from college. She was pulled over, arrested and detained, later released and left stranded to figure out a way to get home. The prosecutor in her locality found that the state trooper had no legal basis for stopping her and pulling her from her car. This incident was unacceptable and left me feeling unsafe to drive at night. Police officers are supposed to make everyone feel safe and protected. No group should be left to worry if they will survive a traffic stop. Please consider the weight of this decision and remember that you serve ALL Virginians. ALL Virginians deserve to feel safe, be treated with dignity and respect; not presumed guilty of wrong doing.
Repealing these bills will not keep the innocent, safe. It was the ones selected that ultimately saved my friends life and livelihood, due to a state trooper who violated her rights and these bills, making false claims. These bills and the dashcam footage allowed her at minimum, maintain her already clean record. Do not repeal.
I am not sure why any honest, moral, and decent human being, would want to stop law abiding citizens for no good reason. The fact that we need laws to protect citizens from dishonest law enforcement personnel is a disgrace in its own right. These laws should not be repealed.
Repeal this bill. The loud mufflers disturb the neighborhoods and destroy the peace in our neighborhoods. They serve no purpose
Allowing pretext traffic stops for minor infractions will victimize innocent citizens and create opportunity for more racially biased injustice, like these: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/prosecutor-no-legal-basis-virginia-state-trooper-stop-black-woman-n1267018
The Virginia Sheriffs Association supports HB 79 and HB 122 to revert secondary offenses to primary offenses. Law enforcement officers must be able to enforce the traffic laws to keep the roads safe. The Virginia Sheriffs Association opposes HB428. Requiring the probation office to be notified undercuts the confidentiality of the informant and both jeopardizes the investigation and puts the informant's safety at risk. As well, eliminating "recent" violators from becoming informants fails to recognize that often informants can be adjudicated in violation, sentenced and want to begin to work shortly after the violation. This bill significantly hampers law enforcement safe and effective use of confidential informants.
Honored legislators, I and my family do NOT support attempts to go backwards on civil rights and justice. We must stay the course on ending racial profiling in traffic stops and other law enforcement activities. If we are to have a just, democratic society, we must end racial bias in the law enforcement area first and foremost. As a former Fairfax County dispatcher, I understand the problem; racial profiling does terrible damage in relations between the police and the public, and does nothing to improve public safety. We've ended racial profiling, we must stay course. Respectfully, Dr. Rebecca Goolsby
Please do not pass HB79. Traffic stops are dangerous both for law enforcement and for the citizens being pulled over, and officers should not be creating that risk by pulling people over solely for things like improper exhaust or objects hanging from rear view mirrors. Also, this bill would not make anyone safer. For example, in Fairfax County, crime has fallen significantly since the passage of laws prohibiting the types of stops this bill seeks to reintroduce. There are still countless traffic laws whose violation justifies a stop. There is no need to repeal the progress made last year, especially when those pulled over for the reasons this bill would authorize tend to be poor and racial minorities.
I strongly oppose these bills. Without impact to public safety, they seek to remove the recent justice improvements across Virginia. The kinds of low-level traffic stops these bills seek to bring back disproportionately affect people of color and negatively impact the Commonwealth. Race-based policing has no place in Virginia. In the first four months of SB5029/ HB5058 going into effect, the number of Black drivers who were searched fell by 40 percent, and the number of white drivers dropped by 30 percent. It's no secret that police across the country, including Virginia, have work to do to increase public trust - HB79, HB122, and HB759 don't help. They damage trust and public relationships, and they are both ineffective and inefficient: As one example, "analysis of arrest data found that weapons were discovered in about 7 percent of traffic stops in Petersburg from 2018 to 2020." [NBC News, "Police face a 'crisis of trust' with Black motorists. One state's surprising policy may help."]. See also this study, an analysis of over 24 million traffic stops in North Carolina from 2002 to 2020. It found that the encounters led to arrests about 2% of the time. Searches also rarely occurred, and when they did, weapons were discovered in one-tenth of 1% of incidents. Black people were the subjects of nearly half the stops, even though they are only 21% of the state’s population: https://fbaum.unc.edu/books/SuspectCitizens/SuspectCitizens-updated-tables-and-figures-2002to2020.pdf There simply isn't data that shows these bills will prevent crime - worse, they continue to erode public trust in police, reducing public safety.
I strongly oppose the following bill(s): HB79, HB122, HB759 that's being considered for the simple fact that these bills are racist and only target individuals within the black and brown-skinned communities. Data already shows racial disparities in traffic stops are decreasing due to key legislation that was passed in last year's General Assembly. For this legislation to want to intentionally undo that work is sad and sickening. I hope that today you will not allow these bills to pass this legislation and that this committee would help to protect the constitutional rights regardless of race that is to be freely given in this country. Black drivers are stopped disproportionately more than white drivers compared to the local population and are at least twice as likely to be searched, but they were slightly less likely to get a ticket. Help remove the idea that black drivers are stopped on the pretext of having done something wrong. Stop the stigma that exists--such as "driving while black!" and the racial disparity that occurs when traffic stops happen to blacks. Say no on bills HB79, HB122, and HB759.
This bill has allowed street racers and those with loud mufflers to pit neighbors against neighbors and to terrorize our neighborhoods. We Have street racers with loud mufflers racing our neighborhood streets, and revving their engines till 3-4 am. A couple of them have done utter destruction to our parking lots private and public defacing them with their tires. These driver are driving drunk, drinking in parking lots, driving high. The sheer number of calls for service regarding these cars has increased. We have so many people running stop signs, not stopping for police, etc. We can't have family picnics or evenings in our yards without being plagued by street racers or loud mufflers. The peace of our evenings is destroyed. I have literally watched these racers drive up and down roads and make their cars backfire, which sounds like gunshots. The number of calls to police for gunshots has increased. People are becoming terrified.