If tea party extremists ran Rhode Island I would still be a fugitive from justice.
North Kingstown conservative Doreen Costa brought the Providence Journal’s attention to my traffic stop last weekend. But she also voted against the reason for my traffic stop during the last legislative session. According to a police report, I was detained because an East Greenwich officer noticed I wasn’t wearing my seat belt while we were both stopped at a red light. Costa voted against a bill that allows police officers to make a traffic stop based primarily on not wearing a seat belt.
According to State House lawyer Richard Raspallo:
“Doreen Costa voted against the primary seatbelt bill 6/29/2011. She again voted against removing the sunset on 5/9/2013, and against the Sub A (lowering the fine to $40.00) that passed after the bill came back from the Senate on 6/28/2013. I believe she agreed with the lowering of the fine, but since she was against the primary seatbelt law to begin with, she voted against the bill as a whole, not really against the idea of lowering a fine alone.”
Earlier this year, she told Matt Allen: “We have to stop controlling every single move we make in this state,” she . “If someone wants to get in the car and not buckle up, that’s their responsibility. The government can’t be controlling what people want to do.”
Justin Katz, who first publicized my run-in with The Law, was also a strong opponent of seat belt violations being a reason for police to pull over a driver – and he’s pointed out to me several times that a more libertarian society would have done me well. Perhaps, though one barometer will be whether or not I learned me lesson.
Katz, to his credit, has been really respectful and very professional throughout my public shaming. It was a good get on his part, and I can’t say I wouldn’t publicize his arrest either. He even wrote on his blog that I’m not a terrible person … or at least not based on my public record, I’m not!
With the possible exception of the recent drug charge (depending on your politics), progressive blogger Bob Plain’s rap sheet is essentially a story of failure to comply with rules and hardly indicates a criminal mentality. It is, rather, evidence of the obstacle course of compliance that modern life has become.
I’m not sure how I feel politically about a seat belt snafu being a primary offense but we both agree that drug laws should be reformed. Maybe RI Future and Anchor Rising can find a way to work on that issue together?