Update: To view a pdf version of the House Bill 3202 under question click here. Thanks Martha!
A little online democracy at work right here in Virginia. Bryan Ault started an online petition to repeal the enormous traffic fines imposed in House Bill 3202, also know as the “civil remedial fees” (how’s that for a euphemism!).
Below is a quote from an article on WTOPnews.com:
How upset are people about Virginia’s new fines for driving-related crimes? Pretty upset, if an online petition is any measure of public sentiment.
Bryan Ault of Alexandria, Va., believes the fees are too steep, so the 28-year-old software tester started an online petition in an attempt to get them repealed. Ault plans to send the petition to his state representatives.
Nearly 12,000 people had signed the petition by Thursday morning.
I just signed the petition, and that figure of 12,000 is now up to almost 75,000 three days later. Are the people speaking, or is this just more primordial yawping from the masses?
Well, either way, if you don’t want to pay outrageous penalties for traffic violations (who does this really penalize? -those who don’t have any money to begin with) then sign the petition.
Interesting. It’s certainly a powerful example of how these technologies might inspire civil participation in ways that we rarely see these days.
That said, I was concerned to go to the site and discover no link to complete information about H.B. 3202. There is a brief, bulleted summary of what’s wrong with the bill, but nothing more. I just can’t sign a petition without having that complete information, and in a way the fact that 85K people can, concerns me. Perhaps they’re just better informed citizens than me and have read up on the Bill elsewhere online or in those things called “newspapers” that apparently some people still get delivered to their front doors. But, somehow, I’m sort of doubting it.
Ultimately, the tools and, more importantly, communities now available to us online have the power to inspire and mobilize us. That’s cool, because I HATE apathy. But, I’d like to see our engagement in those spaces reflect a sense of balance and a personal commitment to *understanding* the issues that we so rarely see in any discussion of political issues these days — online or elsewhere.
If I read up on H.B. 3202 and decide that the argument that this petition makes is valid, I’ll sign. It’s not necessarily the petition-creators’ responsibility to help me do that, but I’d respect them more if they assisted me a little (and, ultimately, expected as much of me.)
Excellent points, Martha. An informed citizen is a dangerous one. It’s interesting to think that a petition like this may be one instance of even alerting us to the bill -prompting folks to do further research. I also think that what is at work here is how much more difficult it could be for governments to simply pass bills that are unwarranted or unnecessarily taxing. That said, your advice is really the cornerstone of a democracy, and to that end I am including a copy of the bill in the original post, an oversight that my enthusiasm often neglects 🙂
I saw the article in the Post yesterday and want to sign the petition and send it to all my friends. Can you please send me the link?
Good job! Aim for a special session to appeal it.
The link is here Patricia, go get em!
gov will not call for a special session because novembers comeing he handsum a garbage bill and as normale they dont do there job they just sighn yes to it then send it back its passes then when public outrage comes out against it they all take a look at what the voted yes to then want a special session called so they can back peddle but to late the gov being jerk he is is gone hangum out to dry in november instead well played gov be glad when your terms up to
there wont be a special sessin called govs gone leave them hanging in the wind just like they leave the people of va hanging in the wind i hope all are voted out come november and will make my day when govs term in office is up to
I consider these fines totally against our constitutional rights. It would seem the lawmakers tried to slip this one in and thought the citizenship was asleep.