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Oregon State Senator Plans Ballot Initiative to Thwart the Surveillance State

An Oregon bill to protect citizens’ privacy rights from unlawful NSA intrusion got the ball rolling and the legislator who sponsored it vowed to use it as a stepping stone to get a ballot initiative ready for 2016.

SB1583 would have prohibited any “public body from obtaining location information of cellular telephone or other electronic communication device without warrant, consent or certain emergent circumstances.” Sen. Larry George (R-Sherwood) introduced the bill in the fiscal (short) session, knowing he didn’t likely have the time to get the bill passed. But George recognized it would put the issue on the table and pave the way for future action. Now he plans to carry the fight right to Oregon voters.

“The public is concerned about these huge databases collecting private information,” George said in an Oregon Live article. “It’s going to be very easy to convince the public that something needs to be done.”

George hopes to spearhead a movement for a ballot initiative to stop the NSA, and plans to start by forming an interim work group at the end of the year. He says he hopes that this will circumvent the partisan hackery responsible for the lack of support for SB1583 and similar bills.

That isn’t the only action expected in the near future on this front. According to the Oregon ACLU, the groundwork has been laid for the success of privacy protection bills during next year’s legislative session.

“Taking on the NSA isn’t a one-step, short-term project. It is going to require sustained efforts. Rep. George understands this, We are committed to seeing it through and stopping unconstitutional spying,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “I am not at all disappointed about the SB1583. It was a first step. It won’t be the last. I am certain the people of Oregon will vote on the side of the Constitution.

TAKE ACTION

To support bills like these, please visit the OffNow.org Action Center at offnow.org/state. There, we have specific steps that you can take to make sure that anti-NSA bills in your state do not suffer the same fate as SB1583. There are also steps outlined for you to take if your state has yet to introduce legislation tackling the problem of illegal NSA spying.

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