One major city’s police department is ignoring the constitutional rights of citizens – adding yet another anti-liberty measure to a growing list that has contributed to the city’s decline in attractiveness as a hub of innovation.

Earlier today, the Austin Police Department announced a semi-permanent “No Refusal Weekend” policy to extend to every single weekend until September – meaning that a motorist pulled over on the mere suspicion of a DWI cannot refuse a sobriety tests. Often times, the accuracy of these tests is suspect, as the results can be skewed far beyond a person’s actual intoxication level.

For example, a person who just a few minutes ago finished his only beverage of the night might take a breathalyzer and see results well beyond the legal limit – which, while inaccurate, would result in an arrest and a potential DWI.

This new policy means this person could not assert his constitutional rights and refuse a sobriety test – as police will have a judge essentially on retainer to authorize warrants to take blood samples from suspects.

In layman’s terms, the Austin Police Department (from now until September) is literally assembling teams of detectives to take blood from people in order to justify arresting them, burdening them with immense fines, and revoking their driving privileges.

That’s alarming in and of itself. Such measures fly in the face of individual rights in the name of so-called ‘public safety’ – oft-cited justification big government apologists invoke for anti-liberty policies. But it’s downright oppressive that this initiative come just a year after that same ridiculous justification was used to shut down ridesharing – a practice which data has shown significantly reduces DWIs. 

In fact, the Austin Police Department has gone so far to reduce the ‘ridesharing menace’ as to conduct sting operations against ridesharers after the ban.

It’s borderline insane local policies such as this new DWI initiative that have led to Austin’s decreased attractiveness as a place to live. Skyrocketing rents, out-of-control spending, and oppressive, anti-liberty municipal policies (see: smoking bans, ridesharing regulations, short-term rental bans) have turned Austin into a mere shell of the edgy night-life/technology hub it once was.

In fact, while Austin hails itself as Texas’ technological start-up hub, it’s rapidly losing ground. According to TechNet and the Progressive Policy Institutes recent study on the nation’s new startup hubs, Austin didn’t even make the list.

Probably because, almost deliberately, local officials are making Austin a less attractive place to live by the day.

Greg Harrison

Gregory led the Central Texas Bureau for Empower Texans and Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he got involved politically through the Young Conservatives of Texas. He enjoys fishing, grilling, motorcycling, and of course, all things related to firearms.


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