This month, lawmakers in six states introduced versions of model legislation designed to deny the NSA state resources or cooperation from state officials. The bills cover everything from banning evidence collected by the NSA from being introduced in state courts to shutting off the supply of water and electricity to the agency's in-state data centers.Given that one of the NSA's main spook data centers resides in San Antonio, I'd love to see similar legislation filed in Texas during the 84th legislative session in 2015. According to this video from the Tenth Amendment Center, an NSA data center in Utah uses 1.7 million gallons of water per day. If the San Antonio location uses anywhere near that much, it's not an insignificant thing given that city's chronic water shortage:
"If the feds aren't going to address the issue, then it's up to the states to do it," says David Taylor, a GOP member of the Washington state House of Representatives whose Yakima Valley district hosts an NSA listening post. Taylor's bipartisan bill, introduced last week, would cut off "material support, participation or assistance" from the state and its contractors to any federal agency that collects data or metadata on people without a warrant. Practically speaking, it would mean severing ties between the NSA and state law enforcement, blocking state universities from serving as NSA research facilities and recruiting grounds, and cutting off the water and power to the agency's Yakima facility.
Similar bills, some of them less broad, have been floated in California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas. Others are expected in coming months in Michigan, Arizona, and Utah.
Since Barack Obama will still be president when the Texas Legislature meets again, I could see this gathering significant attention and momentum among the Tea Party crowd, though it would be virtually impossible to pass: The fact that House Speaker Joe Straus hails from San Antonio probably means it could never get a floor vote in that chamber, while the 2/3 rule would probably keep it from getting a vote in the Texas Senate. Still, the tactic would raise the profile of electronic privacy issues and, if something like that ever passed in a state like Texas or Utah where the NSA has a big physical plant, it'd be awfully fun to watch what happens.
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