Bikers' Rights: HB-137 Legislation Authorizing Seizure of Motorcycles Gets Favorable Vote From Florida House Committee on Infrastructure!

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HB-137 Legislation Authorizing Seizure of Motorcycles Gets
Favorable Vote From Florida House Committee on Infrastructure!
Release Number 0052

Motorcycling Endurance Riders
Bikers Rights, Motorcyclists Rights, Long Distance Motorcycle Riding

Extreme Long Distance Endurance Motorcycle Rider IronBoltBruce

Fellow Freedom Fighters:

Today HB-137, legislation authorizing the seizure of motorcycles by the State...


...received a 9 to 1 favorable vote from the Florida House Committee on Infrastructure. Here is how the members voted:


Below is a first-hand, unedited account of the meeting by Robert "RC" Conroy, an independent bikers' rights advocate who attended and spoke before the Committee today. I will make no further comment now other than to emphasize that although this bill targets sportbikers, if passed ANY MOTORCYCLE IN FLORIDA could become subject to seizure. And if we allow this dangerous precedent to be set, ANY MOTORCYCLE ANYWHERE could one day become subject to seizure ... including YOURS!



Update re: HB137. House infrastructure committee met at 8:30 this morning to address HB137 the bill that provides for seizure of Motorcycles and revocation of Motorcycle Endorsement for up to 10 years for "certain" reckless driving offenses.

Despite calls and e-mails alerting people of the meeting and the importance of attending and voicing any concerns there were only three that showed to address the bill, one, the Motorcycle Industry Council representative who arrived late attempting to get clarification on certain issues and didn't get to speak.

There was late notice as to the agenda of this meeting and confusion over amendments, clarifications and agreements that many in attendance were not aware of and had no chance to review.

Apparently to address questionable issues from the last committee hearing on the 137, there has been a redefinition of the term "wheelie" however if anyone knew what the final definition was it was not announced or discussed. The discriminatory issues that were addressed at the last meeting pertaining to the bill only addressing motorcycles was resolved by amending the bill to include "all vehicles." The seizure of motorcycles/vehicles was addressed by moving the seizure option to the third offense.

One person who was present to speak on another issue, rose to voice his opposition to the bill and then waived his time.

The next person to speak was the lobbyist for ABATE of Florida who stated that his organization opposed the bill and made a pitch for stiffer penalties for those who violate motorcycle right of way causing injury and/or death to the motorcyclists.

I was called after the ABATE's lobbyist and attempted to address the bill from a perspective relating to the state Supreme courts declaration last summer that they had significant concerns regarding the constitutionality of vehicle seizures as they are being done in Florida. Also mentioning Miami vs. Wellman (1-23-08) wherein the Third district court of Appeals with Supreme Court approval declared the city of Miami's program of vehicle seizures unconstitutional on three points to include, denial of due process and "the city's (Miami) preponderance of the evidence standard of guilt was too weak for a statute that deprives individuals of their personal property". Putting the 12 million dollars Miami has earned from the sale of confiscated vehicles at risk.

I then when on to reiterate the ABATE lobbyists concerns about draconian measures to address this issue and the minimal penalties received by persons who kill and maim motorcyclists by violating their right of way. Also expressing the contention that this bill may in fact lead to more deaths as more motorcyclists may be inclined to run if they thought seizure of their bikes was imminent.

Neither the ABATE lobbyist nor I were asked any questions.

A highway Patrol officer then spoke of their ability to catch these individuals using helicopters and other means.

Representative Lopez- Cantera was next to speak and the only real question of significance came from representative Susan Bucher who asked him about the citizens right to seek redress to which he assured there was (this contradicts the findings in Miami vs. Mellon). The rest of the comments were of praise for Lopez-Canterra's efforts. The vote was taken with all yea's and one nay. I was not able to see who voted nay [it was Evers]. It looked suspiciously as if this hearing was orchestrated based on the little amount of discussion and questioning of information that was unavailable to the gallery.

Afterwards I was interviewed by WFSU regarding my thoughts on the hearing during which I expressed frustration with the public's failure to be concerned enough about the actions of their representatives. That a bill that was initially perceived as only applying to motorcyclists now applied to anybody that operates any motor vehicle. That governmental seizure of personal property is an issue all citizens should be concerned with.

I must say I was disappointed at the lack of attendance by motorcyclists, sport bikers and Harley riders alike as this legislation affects us all. The word went out about this hearing by a number of people. In this area there are hundreds of "Bikers" of which at least a few could have attended to stand for their rights.

The meeting went on to include a presentation regarding cell phone and driving (to include the economic benefits of doing so) which I will post on when I have gathered my notes.

"Let Freedom Reign"


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