SACRAMENTO — As legislators arrive at the Capitol after their recess, Sacramento observers are pointing to the “big” issues that will top the agenda and grab most of the news coverage. These will understandably focus on financial matters, especially after the governor releases his budget on Friday.
For instance, California has a projected budget surplus, and Assembly Democrats have proposed a fiscal blueprint that would spend a lot of the money on expanded social programs. Republican leaders want to use much more of the surpluses to address long-term debt problems related to the state’s largest pension funds.
Nevertheless, some legislators believe the Legislature should make room for an issue that deals more with Californians’ civil liberties than their pocketbooks. “The National Security Agency’s massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom,” said Sen. Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat, in a statement.
On Monday, he – and La Mesa Republican Sen. Joel Anderson – introduced the “Fourth Amendment Protection Act.” SB 828 would prohibit the state government, its employees and contractors from assisting the federal government in collecting metadata unless it is “based on a warrant that describes the person, place and thing to be searched.”
NSA spy eye image from Shutterstock.com