Capitol connection: Sen. Delph aims to take on NSA
State Sen. Delph works to prevent warrantless cell phone spying
State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) is authoring a legislative proposal requiring warrants before the government collects data from Hoosiers’ electronic devices.
“In America, we have a right to privacy,” Delph said. “Unfortunately, there are legal loopholes allowing government agencies to snoop on our digital lives. This proposal works to close those loopholes by requiring a warrant and punishing those who do not follow this protocol.”
Under SB 231, a warrant showing “probable cause” of a crime must be obtained before searching an electronic device. Without warrants, illegal searches would be considered Level 5 felonies consisting of a prison term ranging from one to six years.
Delph said his proposal applies to local, state and federal levels of government.
According to the independent news provider ProPublica, in July of 2013, Maine became the second state, after Montana, to require police to obtain a warrant for location data. Other state legislatures have considered laws requiring a warrant for location data as well as emails.
Mass transit supporters to rally at the statehouse Jan. 23
Planning to maintain the momentum gained by a positive study committee outcome, transit advocates from around the state plan to converge on the Indiana statehouse for Transit Day on Jan. 23.
Advocates are encouraged that the Central Indiana Transit Study Committee recommended the General Assembly enact legislation to enable Hamilton and Marion counties to establish or improve public transit systems, and that bills have been filed in both the House and Senate.
Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) and Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) have co-authored and filed a bill in the Senate, SB 176, and Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) has filed a bill in the House, HB 1034.
“We are excited that legislators are keeping the transit issue moving forward,” said Kim Irwin, with the Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit (ICAT). “We are committed to making sure legislators continue to hearing from us. The more they hear from constituents, the better the chance for a bill passing this session.”
In addition to the 10:30 a.m. program, Transit Day will include exhibitors in the atrium of the Statehouse beginning at 10 a.m.
Gov. Pence backs alternative business tax cut
Gov. Mike Pence is considering House leaders’ new business tax proposal that would provide an alternative to Pence’s proposal to eliminate the business personal property tax.
The Associated Press reports that analysts for the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency predict that property taxes on homeowners could rise and locally based income taxes could increase by nearly 1 percentage point.
Pence has made eliminating the tax on business equipment a centerpiece of this year’s legislative agenda and said that it’s necessary to spur job creation.
The Hamilton County Auditor’s Office estimates that Hamilton County overall could have about $20 million less revenue if the tax were eliminated. It also projects that the City of Carmel would lose about $2.6 million and Carmel schools would lose $3.4 million in revenue per year.
But according to the Associated Press, Chris Atkins, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that the governor would back an alternative measure crafted by House Republican leaders.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, (R-Indianapolis) announced the chamber’s plan would give counties the option to eliminate the tax on all new business equipment.