12.07.2016 1

Human tracking device bill vote in House today?


By Robert Romano

The human tracking device bill is back with a vengeance.

H.R. 4919, a bill that would allow the Attorney General to determine which types of tracking devices can be used on humans, is reportedly coming up under suspension of the rules in the House of Representatives according to the Daily Caller’s Kerry Picket.

While the human tracking device law, which includes a $2 million grant program for state and local agencies, is well-intentioned to help locate those with Alzheimer’s or who are autistic who become lost, it creates a power for the Attorney General to determine what types of devices can be used to track humans. To eliminate the possibility of surgically implanted chips becoming authorized one day in the future on an involuntary basis, new language has been inserted only granting the Justice Department chief the power to approve which “non-invasive and non-permanent types of tracking devices can be used…”

The House Judiciary Committee had postponed a hearing on this bill last week due to concerns, but House leadership apparently has decided to push it through under suspension of the rules — a move that requires it to pass with a two-thirds majority.

Now, the legislation is poised to pass the House overwhelmingly — the postponement and suspension of the rules being mere speed bumps in getting this through without much consideration. An identical version of the bill has already passed the Senate on a mere voice vote.

Of course, like other government boondoggles, the bill is not only unnecessary, but affordable, non-invasive devices are already available via the private sector, like Angel Sense, which is fully developed and even works on your smart phone.

Products like Angel Sense were made without any federal legislation or any need for the Attorney General to approve anything, proving that this legislation was an unnecessary overreach by the federal government. What is the rush to get this done during the lame duck session?

Besides that, Congress possesses no constitutional authority to mandate such devices be used, which would violate the Fourth Amendment as an unreasonable search. And it would violate the Fifth Amendment’s deprivation of liberty without due process.

In a statement, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning blasted the proposal, warning that giving the Attorney General the power to potentially authorize human tracking chips is “not the least restrictive means of tracking patients, of course, when a simple GPS tracking bracelet for example might do the trick, if a doctor thought one would be helpful for a specific patient.”

Manning continued, “In this case, Congress would be granting the Attorney General the power to regulate when human chips are used. But if this is about patient needs, why is this under the Department of Justice and not under the Department Health and Human Services? That alone makes the program suspicious. But the real question is why the government would have any role whatsoever in regulating the circumstances under which tracking devices are to be used on a mandatory basis, when such a system could be established by the private sector, and only ever used after private consultations between doctors, patients and patients’ families, when it is appropriate.”

Good question. Why is this being done via the Justice Department? Even if one thought this was a safety issue, it could be handled at the local level, that is, in jurisdictions where the private health care sector has provided such services to patients to notify local law enforcement when a patient becomes lost. You don’t need an act of Congress to do that, particularly when the technology is already available for purchase by individuals and health care providers.

Americans for Limited Government was advised by the Judiciary Committee that the language was being expanded to exclude the possibility of inserted tracking chips, markings or anything else deemed “invasive” from being pursued as an option by the Attorney General. Now, viewing the new language available on the House’s calendar page, the legislation has been altered from the Senate bill, meaning further action would still be required to get the bill to the President’s desk.

The new language calls for “non-invasive and non-permanent types of tracking devices.” But that is not good enough. It still represents vast overreach as none of this is necessary, when individuals, families and doctors can decide to use such products on their own, under individual, limited circumstances when it is medically necessary.

The human tracking device bill should be scrapped. The government has zero role in requiring or even facilitating that such devices be placed on any individual. The only legislation Congress should be considering a short-term continuing resolution — and then get the hell out of town, for goodness’ sake.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Updated to reflect new language to the bill.

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