The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that critics say could open a Pandora’s Box to government tracking of Americans. H.R. 4919, which passed 346 to 66 in the lower chamber, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law, mandates the U.S. attorney general award grants to law enforcement officials so that those agencies can create, establish and operate “locative tracking technology programs.”
The programs mission would be to find “individuals with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, or children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, who have wandered from safe environments.”
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, said the good intentions of the bill could be broadly interpreted.
While this initiative may have noble intentions, ‘small and temporary’ programs in the name of safety and security often evolve into permanent and enlarged bureaucracies that infringe on the American people’s freedoms. That is exactly what we have here. A safety problem exists for people with Alzheimer’s, autism and other mental health issues, so the fix, we are told, is to have the Department of Justice, start a tracking program so we can use some device or method to track these individuals 24/7,” Gohmert said in his floor speech.
Gohmert explained, “It is absolutely staggering that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be so blind to government overreach that they would allow a federal tracking program, not for criminals in the U.S., not for terrorists, not for illegal immigrants or even immigrants who commit crimes, but for people with ‘developmental disabilities’ a term that is subject to wide misinterpretation.
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