Maryland Republicans Introduce Bill to Fight NSA

Eight Maryland Republicans introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act last Thursday. The bill would keep local government from providing resources to the National Security Agency while it’s engaged in any form of spying programs. According to OffNow.org, the bill would make any data gathered by the NSA inadmissible in state court.

The piece of legislation is based on the model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center that is being used by lawmakers in several other states to fight the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance locally.

Maryland is basically the National Security Agency’s political subdivision, according to the Tenth Amendment Center’s executive director Michael Boldin. The agency’s home base in Ft. Meade, Maryland uses a massive amount of water, which would be denied to the agency if the legislation passes. Local governments would be denied state funds if they refuse to comply with the law and companies would be blocked from maintaining any state contract if they choose to cooperate with the NSA.

Eight Republicans are defending Maryland’s HB 1074 in the House of Delegates. The bill will only pass with the approval of three-fifths of delegates. The introduction of the legislation follows reports concerning a contract renewal between the NSA and Howard County, Maryland that will provide the agency with up to 5 million gallons of water per day. The water is used to cool the agency’s supercomputers, which would not be functioning if it weren’t for all of the water provided by local governments.

According to Michael Boldin, “the NSA’s decade of warrantless surveillance en masse assaults not only the rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans, and our democracy as a whole, but resembles Soviet-style spying — on meth, empowered and amplified by the past generation’s remarkable advances in computing technology.”

It could be a tough fight for Delegate Michael Smigiel (R-MD) and other Republicans attempting to push the bill through the House, but some believe that public opinion matters greatly when it comes to privacy, which will most likely prompt both parties to support the proposed legislation. “Maryland residents have a chance to shed partisan differences and take matters into their own hands,” TAC’s executive director said, “they have the opportunity to defend democracy by shutting off state resources consumed by the massive NSA operation in Maryland as it assaults We the People, our fundamental rights, and the Constitution that enshrined them.”

The House Judiciary committee will evaluate the bill first, once it passes by a majority vote, the full house will consider the bill.


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