By Max Bibeau | USA
A new bill was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Trump on August 22nd that compromises homeowner’s right to privacy in certain parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
The law in question is a simple law regarding the foundation of a Metrorail Safety Commission. The bill cites the millions of people “the safety of whom is paramount” as the primary reason for the creation of a new Commission. The commission would have basic oversight over the Metrorail, to ensure that it meets safety standards.
One clause buried in the seemingly harmless legislation appears to be some cause for concern. The clause lies under the “Powers” section of the bill, and reads:
“(b) 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. The Commission shall make reasonable reimbursement for any actual damage resulting to any such adjacent lands, waters, and premises as a result of such activities;”
Essentially, any homes that the chief executive officer of the Commission deems that a “need exists” anywhere near the Rail System, can be warrantlessly searched. This power is given to the commission “without limitations,” and can be used “as the Commission may deem necessary.” This vague phrasing is leaving a few representatives in shock, such as a Republican Representative from Michigan, Justin Amash. Amash took to Twitter to express his shock.
Only 5 of us voted against bill allowing govt to enter/search private property in parts of VA, MD & DC w/o warrant. https://t.co/SVhTWqbPaB
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 18, 2017
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 22, 2017
In the vote held on whether or not to pass the legislation, 399 Representatives voted yea. Only 5 voted nay. 1.1% of House Representatives voted against the piece of legislation. Those who voted nay were Representatives Amash, Jones, Massie, Mooney, and Sanford, all of whom are Republicans.
You can read the full text of the bill HERE.
You can find more information on the Congressional Vote HERE.
Max Bibeau is a Senior Editor for 71 Republic. You can contact him through email at [email protected], or follow him on Instagram with the handle @_maxbibeau.