An Arizona state senator has committed to take on the National Security Agency spy machine.
Sen. Kelli Ward announced Monday that she plans to introduce the Fourth Amendment Protection Act to stop her state from supporting the NSA in its unconstitutional spying.
“While media attention is focused on a possible effort to shut off water to the NSA data center in Utah, I’m introducing the Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act to back our neighbors up,” she said. “Just in case the NSA gets any ideas about moving south, I want them to know the NSA isn’t welcome in Arizona unless it follows the Constitution.”
Based on model legislation drafted by the OffNow coalition, the Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act blocks state support for the NSA through four provisions.
- Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.
- Makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.
- Blocks public universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds.
- Provides sanctions against corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.
Ward called stopping unconstitutional snooping a national security issue.
“I believe the number one priority for national security is defending and protecting the Constitution. Without that, the rest becomes irrelevant. There is no question that the NSA program, as it is now being run, violates the Fourth Amendment. This is a way to stop it.”
Arizona becomes the first state to officially consider the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey says he expects at least four other states to take up the bill early in the 2014 session.
While the NSA does not currently operate a data or “threat operations” center in Arizona, Maharrey said states around the country need to pass similar legislation to make NSA expansion more difficult.
“We know the NSA is aggressively expanding its physical locations, not just in Utah, but in Texas, Hawaii and other states too,” he said. “Since the NSA isn’t transparent about its plans, it’s essential to not only address where it is today, but work to get the rest of the country to say, ‘You’re not welcome here either!’”
Two Arizona state universities have partnerships with the NSA. The Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act would address the status of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, Tucson, as NSA “Centers of Academic Excellence.”
Maharrey said he was thrilled with Ward’s decision to introduce the legislation, noting the OffNow coalition strategy was always multi-state.
“Right now, all the talk is all about denying water to the NSA facility in Utah. That’s important, but we hope every state will stand up and say, ‘No!’ to the NSA,” he said. “In Federalist 46, James Madison told us a single state resisting an unwarrantable act could create ‘serious impediments.’ But when several states work in union, he said it would ‘create obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.’ Arizona is an important piece of the obstruction puzzle.”
TAKE ACTIONTake these steps today to help stop NSA spying in your state
1. Get the model 4th Amendment Protection Act for your state (pdf):
2. Contact your STATE representative/assemblyperson AND State Senator. Strongly, but respectfully, encourage them to introduce the act for your state. A phone call is much more powerful than an email. Or do both. Contact info HERE.
3. Join the coalition. Are you part of a grassroots group? Encourage your group's leadership to sign on in support of the coalition here: http://offnow.org/coalition
4. Get Flyers to help spread the word!