A bill set to allow people’s private residences to be searched without a warrant was almost unanimously passed in the United States Congress, and then signed into law by President Trump recently. It happened with almost no media coverage or popular opposition.
Worse, it was insidiously hidden in a bill that explains nothing about warrantless searches on the surface.
House Joint Resolution 76 is its name. The bill’s title claims its purpose is “Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.”
“Whereas the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, an interstate compact agency of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland, provides transportation services to millions of people each year, the safety of whom is paramount; Whereas an effective and safe Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system is essential to the commerce and prosperity of the National Capital region; Whereas the Tri-State Oversight Committee, created by a memorandum of understanding amongst these 3 jurisdictions, has provided safety oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.”
Piling more and more strange, hostile functions onto benign seeming government organizations, it is essentially a proposal for a safety commission to act as a branch of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
It’s giving the seemingly benign Transit Authority the authority to use force against people and invade homes.
To justify its existence, it wants the ability to “Adopt, revise, and distribute a written State Safety Oversight Program,” as well as “Review, approve, oversee, and enforce the adoption and implementation of WMATA’s Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.”
Buried within these powers is the ability for the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to search people’s homes without a warrant. According to the bill:
“In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may: Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass.”
It technically gives the Commission the ability to forcefully enter people’s property near the Metro Rail “without limitation,” without a warrant, and with the intent of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”
The Free Thought Project pointed out it is a constitutional violation, and almost no one cares:
“This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment, which states that Americans’ rights “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.”
When the bill was brought to a vote in the House of Representatives, there were only five Congressmen who voted against it: Representatives Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan; Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina; Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky; Alex Mooney, a Republican from West Virginia; and Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina.”
Does anybody remember what happened to the people forced to live near railway stations in Nazi Germany? They were taken to concentration camps and murdered.
People have asked why guard towers and other hostile things have been built onto train stations in recent years, from the US to Australia and Europe. Now if a person lives near a train station in the regions of the East Coast this bill refers to, they may have their home ransacked or tested for whatever the authorities want.
Americans are very lucky to not be disarmed yet: imagine how much worse it would be if there were nothing at all forming a formidable opposition to this trajectory of control.
(Image credit: mygovcost)