Rejecting the federal government on various civil libertarian issues has become somewhat of a norm in recent years – from the National Defense Authorization Act’s (NDAA) detention provisions, to blocking the use of federal drones – the states have felt emboldened to raise a flag against federal intervention. With last year’s Snowden leaks, the states have another intervention to at least stop what they can.
A bundle of lawmakers in California are taking up the case for blocking NSA powers. The Californian senators are on either side of the political aisle, leaving the legislation bipartisan. Generally, the bill would prohibit the water and electricity use from public sources to the NSA, as well as lay sanctions on private companies that assist in the help of resources. NSA officials would also not be allowed to partner with college programs.
The bill would ban the state from “[providing] material support, participation or assistance in any form to a federal agency that claims the power, by virtue of any federal law, rule, regulation or order, to collect electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.”
Co-sponsoring the legislation, Democratic Senator Ted Lieu told reporters he understood NSA officials’ concerns regarding the world being a dangerous place; indeed the world is a danger zone. Sen. Lieu said, “That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government.” Lieu went on to label the whole NSA as a danger to liberty values.
As stated, the legislation is bipartisan and Republican Senator Joel Anderson is on the same page as Lieu. Both are adamant about slashing the NSA’s role in California. Simply put, Anderson explained to the press that he’s in favor of the Fourth Amendment. Of course, Lieu and Anderson aren’t the only ones in California looking to throw a wrench in the NSA’s machine; other groups are also involved, like the Tenth Amendment Center.
California isn’t in its lonesome either. Other nullification-styled bills are being recommended and contemplated by lawmakers in states like Oklahoma and Arizona. TAC members, aimed at reducing federal government powers, draft the anti-NSA bills, which are all in the same for the most part. Of course, none of these legislative pieces came into play until after Snowden’s leaks. What Snowden did has not only confirmed the imbedded fear of being watched, but has also allowed Americans to understand what their government is truly doing.