Governor Signs Bill to Rein in Game Commission's Stop and Search Power, Says ACLU of PA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HARRISBURG – Governor Edward Rendell today signed legislation to bring the power of the Pennsylvania Game Commission to conduct stops and searches in line with the commonwealth’s police officers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania praised the governor for recognizing the flaws in the current law and for approving House Bill 181.
“Sportsmen do not give up their rights and aren’t presumed to be criminals simply because they hunt and fish,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
Under current law, Game Commission officers can stop and search someone at any time and for no reason. HB 181, introduced by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County), requires that commission officers find reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred to stop a vehicle and to ask for identification. They will need to meet the stronger probable cause standard to conduct a search.
Hoover noted that the ACLU of Pennsylvania has received numerous complaints about stops and searches by commission officers.
“We’ve been aware of the flaws in the current code for some time,” Hoover said. “At the ACLU, we prefer revising bad law through legislation and only resort to litigation when there is no other choice.
“In this case, the legislature and the governor understood that this needed to be fixed.”
House Bill 181, now Act 64 of 2010, will go into effect in 60 days.
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in National Security
ACLU Acknowledges Improvements to DOJ Racial Profiling Policy, But Says Far More is Needed
ACLU Applauds Court For Allowing Case Challenging FBI’s Wrongful Prosecution of Chinese American Physics Professor To Move Forward
Shen v. Simpson
Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over Unconstitutional and Discriminatory Law Banning Them From Buying Land
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About National Security
The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.