NOTE: This article was written on behalf of the Michigan Tenth Amendment Center by Sabrina Ramirez.

The federal government tells us we should give them our trust and cooperation because they are here to help. According to their story, if we are willing to give up our personal freedoms, they can offer us security. But in actuality, that hasn’t been the case.

The feds have formed various agencies that are at best useless and at worst horrific infringements upon our rights. We stand to lose much more than what is promised, and the proof is all around us. It is especially terrible when it comes to invading our privacy rights. Thankfully, Michigan state legislators are actively pushing back against these atrocities in Lansing.

SMART METERS
Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) and Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit) introduced House Bill 4916 (HB4916). The bill would allow customers to opt out of having a smart meter installed on their property if they purchase their own traditional meter.

The bill would prohibit utilities from penalizing customers who opt out of the service through fees or service connection, while allowing the company to charge a fee of no more than $5 a month; and requiring certain privacy and security measures, including encryption, on smart meter data.

Companies such as Consumers Energy claim that Smart Meters are the only way to accurately assess a customer’s bill. This comment comes amidst hundreds of customer complaints in regard to their billing process. The company can accurately and conveniently asses a customer’s bill but they hope to have all “smart meters” installed by 2017.

These new meters will provide companies with daily meter updates and allow a family’s electrical usage to be monitored. HB4916 would allow customers to fight back against intrusion and keep their data from possibly being accessible to many other sources. TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL HERE.

NSA SPYING
Another bill designed to hold back federal data thieves is still active in Lansing. Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) along with 21 bi-partisan cosponsors introduced House Bill 5162 (HB5162). It would ban the state from providing resources to any federal agency to aide in its collection of a person’s electronic data or metadata, without a warrant. This would essentially make NSA spying untenable in the Wolverine State! PLEASE TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THIS CRUCIAL LEGISLATION NOW.

DRONES
Rep. Jim Runestad introduced House Bill 5026 (HB5026) along with nine co-sponsors to prohibit police from gathering information with a drone without a warrant with only a few exceptions. It includes a complete ban on the use of drones armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons. Any information collected in violation of the law would be inadmissible in court. The legislation also includes specific criteria judges must follow when issuing a warrant, and criminal penalties for violations of the law. PLEASE TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL TODAY.

LICENSE PLATE READERS
This year, Rep. Samir Singh (D-East Lansing) and a group of four bipartisan co-sponsors, introduced House Bill 5248 (HB5248). The bill would restrict the use of automated license plate reader devices (ALPR) to specific law enforcement functions, and place limits on the storage and sharing of any data collected by such systems. HB5248 would still allow police to use an ALPR for a wide range of specific law enforcement activities, including locating stolen vehicles, locating persons subject to arrest warrants, locating missing persons and for investigation of specific cases. However, bulk collection in a dragnet manner would be stopped. TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THIS KEY BILL.

CHECKPOINTS
Rep. Jim Runestad introduced House Bill 4870 (HB4870) to prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and personnel from participating in voluntary motor vehicle checkpoints or stops conducted by a private company or research group to collect human samples from consenting drivers who are stopped at the checkpoint for research or statistical purposes. It will apply even if the federal government funds the checkpoint or if it operates under contract from a federal agency.

When any sort of personal data is accumulated is always a concern especially, when we are looking at DNA. Where it could land is uncertain. The federal government is aggressively growing biometric databases. With that being said there’s no assurance that data gathered would not be placed permanent databases. We must take action against this before it is too late! PLEASE CONTACT THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND URGE THEM TO PASS THIS BILL.

While it may seem like resistance is futile to federal tyranny, that is far from the case. But we will only be free if we are willing to get active in support of the solution. We must get behind the legislators brave enough to stand up against Big Brother, and support their legislative efforts to keep our privacy rights in tact.