Washington State Rep. Matt Shea (R) has introduced a “Fourth Amendment Protection Act’ that would block all unlawful NSA surveillance and lay the groundwork for other states to follow suit.
House BIll 2272, which also received bipartisan backing from Representatives Taylor, Moscoso, Overstreet, Scott, Blake, and Condotta, would codify Washington State’s refusal to allow the federal government to collect the electronic information of its citizens without a warrant.
“It is the policy of this state to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched or seized,” states the bill.
Crucially, the legislation would prohibit state-owned utilities from providing water and electricity to physical NSA locations in the state like the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center, which serves as an NSA listening post. The bill would also ban public universities from serving as NSA research facilities.
“We’re running with this bill to provide protection against the ever increasing surveillance into the daily lives of our citizens,” said Republican lawmaker David Taylor. “Our Founding Fathers established a series of checks and balances in the Constitution. Given the federal government’s utter failure to address the people’s concerns, it’s up to the states to stand for our citizens’ constitutional rights.”
Section 4 of the bill also blocks funds for political subdivisions that collaborate with any branch of the federal government in aiding in the mass surveillance of citizens of the state.
The legislation also forbids information provided by a federal agency which has been obtained via warrantless surveillance from being used in criminal investigations.
“We know the NSA shares data with state and local law enforcement,” said the Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey. “We know that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues. This bill would make that information inadmissible in state court. This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. This bill would stop that from happening. This is a no-brainer. Every state should do it.”