The Arizona Legislature: Anti-Federal Government measure masquerading as a civil liberties measure

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings


In 2013, news came to light (due to the now-world famous Edward Snowden) that the US government, via the NSA, was collecting "metadata" about the cell phone calls of Americans.

Metadata is pretty much all of the information about a phone call except for a recording of the conversation (number called, time of call, duration of call, where the parties to the call were located during the call, etc.).

Civil libertarians from across the political spectrum were outraged by the news (though a few folks were more outraged by the fact that someone dared to "out" the program; those folks are part of the problem, and not part of the solution).

Critics of the president and people who were heretofore supporters of President Obama pounced on the news – civil liberty is perhaps the one area those two groups can find common ground.

Amazingly, the legions of the President's critics, who would denounce him if he found a cure for cancer, did not focus on this issue, perhaps one of the few legitimate areas where support for the President isn't widespread and strong.

As an observer of the political scene, this lapse baffled me.  I could not hazard even a guess as to why the President has received an almost-complete pass on this.

Today, I figured it out.

They're not upset over the collection of metadata; they're upset that *they're* not the ones doing it and controlling and using the data.

See: SB1156

Introduced by Sen. Kelli Ward, the list of sponsors and co-sponsors for this bill reads like a "Who's Who" of the AZLege's Black Helicopter Caucus (BHC) –

Ward (R)

Sen. Judy Burges (R)

Sen. Chester Crandell (R)

Sen. David Farnsworth (R)

Sen. Andy Biggs (R)

Sen. Rick Murphy (R)

Rep. Sonny Borrelli (R)

Rep. David Livingston (R)

Rep. Darin Mitchell (R)

Rep. Warren Petersen (R)

Rep. Carl Seel (R)

Rep. Bob Thorpe (R)

Rep. Brenda Barton (R)

Rep. Paul Boyer (R)

If case someone thinks that I left off the names of Democrats or one of the few (comparatively) sane Rs, I didn't.  None of them signed on to sponsor this one, which should tell you all you need to know about this one. 

However, in case you need more information before making an evaluation of the measure, the clauses bar, unless a very specific search warrant is authorized and issued, "an agency or political subdivision of this state, an employee of an agency or political subdivision of this state acting in the employee's official capacity or a corporation providing services on behalf of this state or a political subdivision of this state" from doing anything that aids the federal government in the collection of metadata.

If any political subdivision does so, any state funds due to them (revenue sharing, appropriation, etc.) will be withheld. 

Any employee of the state or a political subdivision who does so will immediately lose his/her job, and be permanently barred from ever holding a position in any level of government in Arizona.

If a corporation providing services to or for the state does so, it is permanently barred from ever receiving a state contract.

If metadata information from the feds becomes part of a criminal investigation or trial, it cannot be used.


What the bill *doesn't* prohibit?

The collection and use of metadata by the state of Arizona, its political subdivisions, or corporations.

Nope.  It just prohibits helping the feds with it. 

Guess the BHC doesn't really care about civil liberties as much as they do about telling the feds to [bleep] off.  On our dime.

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