Originally created 03/13/98

Ax fingerprint law 031398 - The Augusta Chronicle



The tyrannical law forcing driver's license applicants to be fingerprinted remains one of the worst insults the General Assembly has hurled at Georgians in recent years.

Why must all applicants be treated like criminal suspects? Why do we continue to allow the state to intrude, yet again, into our personal lives?

This year, with the General Assembly session scheduled to end next Thursday, Reps. Mitchell Kaye, R-Marietta, Robin Williams, R-Augusta, and other lawmakers feel they have a good shot in garnering enough of their colleagues' signatures on a discharge petition to force a fingerprint repeal to the House floor for a vote.

This is a worthy effort that should be supported by a majority of lawmakers from either party. (Telephone numbers for Georgia lawmakers are listed in the box below our editorials.)

Mandated fingerprint statutes are abominable in a "free socie ty" because they are "just-in- case-you-commit-a-crime" laws. While we don't always agree with the Libertarian Party, its National Chairman Steve Dasbach is on the mark on this issue when he declares that such laws turn "the presumption of innocence on its head and force every American to prove their innocence to politicians, bureaucrats and computers."

In a similar vein, at the federal level, an obscure section of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act compels employers to report the name, address, Social Security number and wages of every new worker within 20 days. It will then be possible to match these names against its database that has the names of parents behind on child support payments. (But, of course, who's to say that prying bureaucrats will just use such databases, or fingerprints, for "benign" purposes?)

Do we really want to travel down this Orwellian road where Big Brother could ultimately know virtually everything about us?