Maine Might Tighten Standards For Traffic Stops

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine might ban traffic stops that are intended as a way to investigate unrelated criminal activity.

Such traffic stops are sometimes called “pretextual” stops. A proposal by Democratic Rep. Victoria Morales of South Portland would end the practice.

The Maine House of Representatives voted to advance the proposal on Tuesday. The Maine Legislature House Democratic Office said the bill is designed to prevent police from pulling drivers over to investigate “unrelated criminal activity for which the officer does not at the time of the stop have an articulable suspicion.”

Morales said the stops should be outlawed because "bias too often becomes the driver of the decision.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has advocate in favor of getting rid of pretextual stops.

The proposal will be subject to more votes in the Maine Legislature.