A bill that would take
away search rights from police in Texas is making progress in the state’s
On May 10, the House
Law Enforcement Committee approved SB1195, which would require officers to get
written permission from motorists before they can search their vehicles, unless
there is probable cause. An amendment in the House version of the bill would
require police to videotape the driver’s compliance, rather than get written
Currently, police in
the state can perform the searches with only verbal consent, regardless of
Civil liberty groups
are hailing the bill as a victory for personal privacy, and say the current law
promotes racial profiling, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
“It is happening a
lot all over Texas because people do not know they have the right to refuse, or
because they are intimidated and threatened with arrest,” saidSen. Juan Hinojosa, D-Mission, the bill’s
author, in the Express-News.
enforcement officials and state prosecutors believe the bill could hamstring
officers in the field and lead to evidence problems, according to the Austin
The bill passed the
Senate in April, and must now be approved by the full House before it can go to
the governor and be signed into law, the American-Statesman reported.