Data Protection Amendment

Constitutional Amendment 9

Title: Constitutional Amendment 9: Missouri Electronic Data Protection Amendment, SJR 27

What It Is:

A constitutional amendment which would add “electronic communications and data” to the Missouri Constitution's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures (Missourians' “persons, papers, homes and effects” are already protected in Article I, Section 15 of the constitution).

General Assembly Vote:

Senate: 31-1 (97% Yes & 3% No)
House: 114-28 (80% Yes & 20% No)

Pro Arguments:

Rob Schaaf’s Chief of Staff Chris Dunn told that he believed Missouri voters were upset at the level of government intrusion into their lives, noting the highly positive response the bill received from the public and from colleagues. In the words of Paul Curtman (Republican state representative from Pacific), “It makes perfect sense that if our hard copy data is protected from unwarranted searches and seizures then our electronic data should be as well.” In supporters’ view, it is incumbent upon the state to protect citizens’ property – including digital property – from unwarranted searches. They argue that such a measure is especially relevant and necessary in the wake of 2013’s NSA surveillance scandal brought to light by the Snowden leaks.

The bill received bipartisan support.

Primary Supporters:

• Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-34) - Sponsor
• Sen. Bob Dixon (R-30) - Cosponsor
• Rep. Paul Curtman (R-109)
• OffNow
• American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
• American Legislative Exchange Council

Con Arguments:

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, some lawmakers question whether there might be unintended consequences making it more difficult for law enforcement to pursue people for cyber crimes. Jeff
Roorda, a Democratic state representative from Barnhart, is on record saying that “Meddling in [protecting data] is problematic for those of us who want to keep pedophiles off the Internet.”