Thursday, February 14, 2008

Has Ralph Smith Compromised His Principles?

During the 2007 Primary campaign, we heard a lot about Ralph Smith’s principles. He talked in great detail about his belief in small government and the rights of the individual. I think it’s fair to say that most Republicans like the idea of small government (although a few in our party are really anti-government which is subject matter for an entirely different post). Ralph’s comments made for nice campaign literature and sound bites, but many of us wondered if there was any meat to it.

It turns out that Ralph may not be as big a believer in small government as he would have us think. His recent General Assembly email update failed to mention it, but Ralph introduced Senate Bill 732, which “Provides that local law-enforcement authorities shall report to the school division superintendent and to the principal or his designee all offenses, wherever committed, by students enrolled in the school if such offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor if committed by an adult.”

SB 732 may not seem offensive on the surface, but this law would apply to a misdemeanor committed by a student in any location—on or off school property. Does the high school principle really need to know if Johnny got a speeding ticket over the weekend? I don’t think the school needs to know that—unless the offense occurs on school property. Not to mention the bureaucracy this will create at every police department in the Commonwealth. You know they will all need a new position to track and report the actions of the students within their jurisdictions. And guess who will pay for that? That’s right, Joe Taxpayer.

I was on the front line of the campaign in 2007 and I heard Ralph talk about his commitment to small government and individual rights and privacy. This bill violates every one of those principles. Fortunately for us, both Democrats and Republicans joined together to kill this “big brother” bill in Committee.

Check it out:


Spank That Donkey said...

what if it were a weapons offense, or sexual assault?

The principal might want to be aware of that.

Zak Moore said...

Spank--I think those would be felonies. Different story.