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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Voters to decide privacy measure Aug. 5

  • A ballot measure protecting Missourians’ privacy that went through the Missouri Senate with overwhelming support (31-1) and also passed the Missouri House by a vote of 114-28 will be put before the voters Aug. 5.
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  • Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a five-part series taking a look at Missouri constitutional amendments that will be on the Aug. 5 ballot statewide.
    A ballot measure protecting Missourians’ privacy that went through the Missouri Senate with overwhelming support (31-1) and also passed the Missouri House by a vote of 114-28 will be put before the voters Aug. 5.
    SJR 27, the legislation passed in order to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot, was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Robert Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) and handled in the House by Rep. Paul Curtman (R-Pacific).
    Curtman said this is a bill he thinks revolves around people’s “reasonable expectations to privacy” guaranteed in both the U.S. Constitution and the Missouri Constitution.
    He said writers of these documents had never seen electronic communications or the sending of data, but the same principle of having reasonable expectations to privacy would apply.
    “If one person sends an email to someone else, they should have a reasonable expectation to privacy. But what if they go through Google? The government doesn't need a warrant to go to Google,” he said.
    Carl Bearden, a former speaker pro-tem of the Missouri House and current executive director of United for Missouri, shared similar sentiments.
    “SJR27 is a necessary addition to our state constitution,” he said. “It will ensure that modern communications (electronic and data) as well as traditional communications are protected from unwarranted search and seizure.”
    Rep. Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) said the proposed constitutional amendment could potentially hinder investigations conducted by law enforcement officials and make their jobs more difficult.
    “It may make it harder for investigators to use location services on phones to find missing kids,” he said. “That’s one argument that could be used.”
    The exact wording of the question that will appear on the ballot will be: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?"

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