LANSING, Mich. (Dec. 15, 2015) – A Michigan bill that would nullify in practice certain federal “voluntary” checkpoints in the state continues to move through the legislative process.
Rep. Jim Runestad (R-44) introduced House Bill 4870 (HB4870) on Sept. 16. The legislation would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and personnel from participating in, lending assistance to, or being present in any official capacity at a voluntary motor vehicle checkpoint or stop conducted by a private company or research group to collect human samples from consenting drivers who are stopped at the checkpoint for research or statistical purposes.
The bill stipulates that the prohibition applies even if the federal government funds the checkpoint or if it operates under contract from a federal agency.
The Committee on Criminal Justice passed HB4870 on Nov. 10 by an 8-0 vote.
Practically speaking, this legislation would block roadblocks set up as part of a multimillion dollar federal study run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation based in Maryland operates the checkpoints, run by uniformed officers. Officers offer motorists cash for DNA samples, generally $10 for a cheek-swab and $50 for blood. Officers reportedly up the ante for motorists who refuse, offering $100.
The issue of such checkpoints gained national attention in the fall of 2013 when the Fort Worth, Texas, police department set up roadblocks for a checkpoint on behalf of the NHTSA. Daily Tech reported:
The Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) installed the roadblock north…