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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Bill would prohibit state from cooperating in warrantless electronic surveillance

If House Bill 2272 became law, the state of Washington would not cooperate with federal agencies in any warrantless electronic surveillance.

Called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, the bill would establish a state policy to refuse participation in electronic data collection on any person without a warrant and would make it a misdemeanor for state officials to do so.

Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, is sponsoring the bill.

“It seemed like every single day there was an article about NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance,” Taylor said. “We thought if the federal government is going to refuse to address the issue, that’s what the state will aim for.”

The idea was born out of the broader context of government surveillance, Taylor said, after House Bill 1771 to regulate the use of drone aircraft by public agencies stalled in the state Legislature last year. The bill was reintroduced Monday.

Under Taylor’s bill, state officials and agencies could not provide support to “any federal law, rule, regulation or order which purports to authorize the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person” without a warrant.

Anyone would be able to take action against the state or state officials if the policy were violated and would be entitled to seek damages.

The bill would also make it illegal for state officials to use information provided by a federal agency in a criminal investigation or prosecution if that information were collected without a warrant.

Comments | More in Federal government, Politics Northwest, State Legislature

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