The fact that members of the Utah Legislature expressed some suspicion about a request to set up some electronic license plate scanners along I-15 in southwest Utah is neither surprising nor altogether wrong.
Viewed strictly on its ethical, constitutional and practical merits, the plan seems harmless enough. But lawmakers are right to ask questions. And they would be well advised to keep a watch on this project, well into the future.
The fact that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, with the support of the Beaver and Washington county sheriffs, wants to be able to record the license plate number of every vehicle that travels up or down that freeway is likely to raise red flags for members of a body that is known to hold little affection for federal control over any part of Utah's territory. This is particularly true when the project is to be run by an agency that is at the forefront of the most futile government effort since the liquor prohibition of the 1920s.