Has the Texas DPS gone 9 fingers too far? Candidates’ response

By | August 21, 2014

I have a perspective on politics that some people may interpret as arrogance. You see, I believe that our elected office holders owe me an answer on policy questions. They owe me this answer personally. The reason they owe me this answer is that they hold their position at my and my fellow citizens’ pleasure. I do not work and pay taxes for their benefit, I work and pay taxes for mine, and elected office holders are stewards of my financial contribution to government. Because of this attitude, I will be (mostly) fair in my accusations and applause for those self same office holders.

So it was, as I read the news in my newsfeed on the morning of August 15th, I came across an article in the Dallas Morning News, Watchdog: Lawmakers say they didn’t give DPS OK to fingerprint. [The original article was published on August 2nd, but I was just catching up from having been on vacation.] Like the lawmakers cited in Dave Lieber’s article, I was “furious.” Well, maybe not furious, more like disgusted.

There is a reason I am concerned with this practice: I have one son who will be getting his first license and another who will be getting his first license as an adult, both during the first week of September.

So, without any hesitation or sense of humility in the presence of those that seek to be our Dear Leader, on the morning of August 15th I sent the following email to the four currently declared gubernatorial candidates for the State of Texas through their official campaign website:

Earlier this summer, the Dallas Morning News reported:

“Quietly, earlier this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety began requiring full sets of fingerprints from everyone who obtains a new driver s license or photo identification card.”

Link:http://www.dallasnews.com/investigations/watchdog/20140607-watchdog-drivers-license-centers-snatch-your-fingerprints.ece

What is your position on this practice?

Here are the responses I received and the timing of those responses:

Kathie Glass, Libertarian, just a few hours after I sent my email responded with:

I am opposed to this increase of the police state.

I am not really surprised my Mrs. Glass’s response. It is so typically libertarian that I’m sure I could have written it myself right after taking my daily red pill supplement.

Greg Abbott, Republican, on August 18th (the next business day):

Thank you for contacting us with your question regarding being finger printed for a drivers license.

Specifically, Section 521.059 of the Texas Transportation Code provides the reasoning for an Image Verification System, which includes an applicant’s facial image and an applicant’s fingerprints.

That section of the Code states that this type of technology is used to ensure that the applicant:
Is issued only one original license, permit, or certificate;
Does not fraudulently obtain a duplicate license, permit, or certificate; and
Does not commit fraud in connection with the application for a license, permit, or certificate.
Additionally, the section explains that the department shall use the image verification system established under this section only to the extent allowed by Chapter 730, Transportation Code, to aid other law enforcement agencies in:

1. Establishing the identity of a victim of a disaster or crime that a local law enforcement agency is unable to establish; or
2. Conducting an investigation of criminal conduct.

As a candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott has proposed that state agencies be prohibited from selling citizens’ private data without their consent. Additionally, Greg Abbott has called for Texas to prohibit resale of data by third party purchasers, and prohibiting anonymous purchasing of data. You may view these proposals in detail here: http://abbotttownhall.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/GregAbbottsWethePeoplePlanFINAL.pdf

Greg Abbott will continue to be an ardent supporter of protecting Texans’ private information.

Mr. Abbott’s response seemed just a little too detailed for comfort, so I read it twice, and then I read it again a few days later. Allow me to sum up Mr. Abbott’s response, “I’m a-ok with the DPS collecting everyone’s fingerprints.”

Wendy Davis, Democrat, as of August 21:

[crickets]

Brandon Parmer, Green Party, as of August 21:

[crickets]

I want to be fair to Ms. Davis and to Mr. Parmer, so I will post their responses and my reaction to their answer as soon as they send it to me, but for now, their non-response speaks volumes to me. What their non-response says to me is that they either have no problem with the practice, making them no different than Mr. Abbott on this issue, or they really have no interest in responding to a voter’s serious question. It is that second possibility that bothers me the most. It tells me that they seek the highest office in the state in order to further their personal agenda rather than to improve the state of the citizens of Texas.

To sum up, so far Greg Abbott, Wendy Davis, and Brandon Parmer all believe that the DPS practice of requiring all 10 fingerprints for a driver’s license is perfectly ok, or not really a meaningful issue, and well within the meaning and intent of the law. Only Kathie Glass, differs on this issue, identifying DPS’s actions as going beyond the intent of the original legislation.