Several States Considering NSA Nullifying Bills

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
01/27/2014
       
Several States Considering NSA Nullifying Bills

The architects of the sprawling federal surveillance apparatus probably didn’t count on one thing that could bring their unconstitutional construction to an abrupt end: nullification.

Legislators in several states are offering bills that would cut the various NSA compounds from the utilities that they need to stay in operation.

Watchdog.org reports on a bill proceeding through the state legislature in Arizona that takes aim at the federal government’s de facto repeal of the Fourth Amendment:

In Arizona, SB1156, which has 14 Republican sponsors, was introduced by state Sen. Kelli Ward. It would bar the state from providing material support to the agency’s activities and ban any data collected without a warrant from being used in court.

Ward announced her intentions in December to introduce a bill that would keep Arizona from supporting the NSA.

In New Hampshire, HB 1533 is a bipartisan bill sponsored by two GOP lawmakers and one Democrat. The measure requires law enforcement to obtain “a warrant to search information in a portable electronic device.”

Section IV of the bill mandates that “A government entity that purposely violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”

One of the sponsors of HB 1533 is also behind HB 1619, a bill specifically protecting a person’s:

expectation of privacy in personal information, including personal identifiers, content, and usage, given or available to third-party providers of information and services, including telephone; electric, water and other utility services; internet service providers; social media providers; banks and financial institutions; insurance companies; and credit card companies.

To the credit of the bill’s author, the protections it affords are extended to “individuals,” not just to “citizens.” This scope is consistent with the language of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees that:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Preserving the protections of the Fourth Amendment is the subject of a proposed statute in Tennessee, as well.

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