The Michigan state house is considering two resolutions that, if passed, would serve as a stern rebuke and important first step against the NSA’s illegal spying program. While legally non-binding, passage could blaze the trail for stronger legislative action being taken against NSA at a later date.
HR0205 and HR0216 were both introduced last year by Rep. Tom McMillin (R-45). The bills were moved to the House Criminal Justice Committee where they remain active during the 2014 legislative year. HR0216 has received an additional 14 bipartisan co-sponsors.
HR0205 states that “our nation was founded and has thrived by maintaining a system of checks and balances that help prevent abuses of power and retain public confidence in our government. The ability of Congress to oversee the executive branch’s implementation of our nation’s laws is one of the fundamental checks in our democratic system” and went on to “urge the Congress of the United States and the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for lying to Congress about the National Security Agency’s collection of data on U.S. citizens.”
HR0216 states that “Congress has so far failed to restrict the NSA’s violation of the constitutionally protected right to privacy of American citizens. The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected amendments which would prohibit the NSA from using federal funds to execute a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order unless that order specifically restricted phone data collection” and went on to “urge Congress to require the National Security Agency to obtain individual search warrants for a named person(s) to collect or track phone data and metadata as required by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
While it is not very likely that the NSA will get its act together because of these resolutions alone, HR0205 and HR0216 certainly represent steps in the right direction. Passing these types of measures in the past have helped build bipartisan coalitions within state governments to defend civil liberties. These resolutions can also help raise the awareness level of the public and pave the way for bills such as the 4th Amendment Protection Act and the Electronic Data Privacy Act to be introduced.
These bills work at the state level to ban the state from taking various actions which help perpetuate the growing surveillance state which the NSA represents.
HR0205 and HR0216 should be looked at as the beginning of a long process to safeguard the privacy rights of Michigan residents.
If you live in Michigan: Contact your state rep to support by HR0205 and HR0216 – and urge them to introduce stronger, binding legislation HERE.
If you live outside of Michigan: Click HERE to find out how to fight the NSA’s unconstitutional spying in your state.