Big Brother fears help kill Texas license bill

| Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The Texas House of Representatives rejected a bill last week that would have allowed state police to collect “biometric” data about drivers.

Citing concerns about Big Brother, the House resoundingly defeated the proposal by a 111-26 vote on May 27. The bill previously passed the Senate.

SB945 would have raised driver’s license fees from $24 to $30, to help fund the $47 million cost of the computerized system, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“If you pass this bill, Big Brother will be watching you,” Rep. John Mabry, D-Waco, warned colleagues before the vote.

The measure would have allowed police to gather information about the physical features of a person based on physiological characteristics, including facial recognition, thumbprinting and fingerprinting. The high-tech identifiers would be an effective tool against terrorism, supporters said.

Opponents said they feared the techniques could include retinal scanning and body measurements.

Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, complained that police would be able to assemble “a database for government to track every one of us.”

“The war on terrorism is serious, but we can’t give up our liberties,” he said.

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