JUNEAU, Alaska (Jan. 21, 2015) – A bill filed in Alaska late last week would ban “material support or resources” to the NSA. This would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.
Alaska Sen. Bill Wielechowski prefiled SB13 on Jan. 16. The legislation would prohibit the state and its municipalities from using assets, including personnel, to assist a federal agency in collecting certain telephone records or electronic data without a warrant, making it the fourth state to introduce legislation similar to a bill up for consideration in Utah this year.
Wielechowski took a little different approach to protecting the Fourth Amendment in the way he crafted his bill.
In 2013, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed anti-commandeering legislation into law prohibiting the state from assisting the federal government in the enforcement of laws that violate the right to keep and bear arms, in implementing indefinite detention without due process under the National Defense Authorization Act, and in enforcing or implementing the Real ID Act of 2005. Instead of drafting a standalone law to ban state assistance to federal spies, the Alaska bill amends this 2013 law to include a prohibition of state assistance to any federal agency engaging in warrantless spying.
A state or municipal agency may not use or authorize the use of an asset to implement or aid in… the collection by a federal agency of electronic data without a search warrant; in this paragraph, “electronic data” includes electronic mail and text messages; or the collection by a federal agency of telephone records without a search warrant, unless the records are collected in a manner consistent with state law.
“This is a great strategic move,” OffNow executive director Mike Maharrey said. “By piggybacking onto existing anti-commandeering law, Wielechowski eliminates any debate about whether or not the state can prohibit material support to federal agencies. That’s been settled in Alaska. Now it simply becomes a question of whether the state wants to cooperate with unconstitutional NSA spying or not. Anybody who opposes this bill is essentially saying, ‘Why yes, I think we should help the feds violate your rights.’”
SB13 also adds an additional provision to state law limiting home rule municipality powers stipulating that “a municipality or an agent of a municipality may not assist, cooperate with, or participate with a federal agency in the collection of” electronic data or telephone records without a search warrant, and prohibits the “use, in a criminal investigation or prosecution, records or data that are provided by a federal agency or an officer or employee of a federal agency that were collected by the federal agency without a search warrant or in another manner inconsistent with state law.”
“With all of its provisions amending various existing statutes, the bill seems rather complex,” Maharrey said. “But it really isn’t when you get down to it. Simply put, if passed, this legislation will end any cooperation by state or local agencies in warrantless spying. It does exactly what our Fourth Amendment Protection Act does. It simply takes a different legislative approach. This is a solid bill and a great strategy.”
Read the rest via Alaska Bill Would Ban Material Support or Resources to NSA – OffNow.org.