Hidden in Plain Sight

In a classic case of the “we differ from everyone else” mentality of some elected political figures, another gem of a bill has made it to a committee in the Rhode Island State House.

House Bill H-7203

Introduced by Williams, Lombardi, Vella-Wilkinson, Cassar, and Almeida

The act would allow an exemption for certain state officials, elected representatives, and other municipal and state employees from the law restricting tinted windows on motor vehicles.

It adds a new section to the law on tinted windows with the following language;

(9) Any privately owned motor vehicle which is owned by an individual employed as a municipal or state police officer, firefighter, judge of a state court, or any elected member of the Rhode Island general assembly

Williams is quoted in several news articles defending the proposed legislation.

“Better safe than sorry,” Williams said. “When we are in our cars and on our private time, we should still be able to have that feeling of, ‘I am OK, because that person that is following me may not know it is me.’”

“We have a lot of disgruntled individuals,” Williams said. “In the court system, law enforcement, and the General Assembly, we get a bum rap, and we can face retaliation when we least expect it. When folks are on personal time, we are targeted.”

Where do I begin?

Once again a political figure sees themselves as requiring special treatment because of the demands of the position. A position they sought and accepted when elected.

Now no individual should face physical threats for acting in their official capacity. We already have laws in place to protect against such behavior. What this legislation does is nothing more than attempt to add another shield between the public and the representatives they elected to office.

Setting aside for the moment the self-aggrandizing implications of such attitudes, let’s look at this from a practical perspective.

If only legislators or certain public officials can have vehicles with these tinted windows, finding them out of the thousands of other vehicles on the road just became easier.

If Representative Anastasia Williams and her co-sponsors have concerns with their safety, and fear being identified while driving their vehicles, removing the special license plates they display from their cars might help. Perhaps this didn’t occur to her but the plates would not benefit from this legislative exemption.

Why do they need special plates in the first place? What might be the motivation behind that, never mind that it mitigates the tinted window shield effect.

No, Representative Williams, tinted windows will not protect you from those who might take exception to your politics or position. When one is in the public service, it goes with the territory.

If someone follows you, or you feel threatened, call the police or drive to a police station. I do not expect you to tolerate physical intimidation, but there’s a difference between threats and the public’s right to express their displeasure with your actions as a representative.

You work for us. We didn’t hire you to insulate yourself from us.

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