Archive for April, 2013

Paper Ballot Bill

Posted: April 30, 2013 in Elections, Legislative Issues

This bill will help with integrity of elections. While I would like to see a complete return to paper ballots counted by human beings, this is an very good step in the right direction. Here’s a note on this from laura Hausladen:

URGENT! SB375 (PAPER BALLOTS) CALLS NEEDED NOW! The Senate’s Paper Ballot bill is on the calendar for “perfection” for TODAY! That means we need you to call your State Senator (not Blunt or McCaskill) NOW, and ask them to support this legislation. (It could come up at any time today or in the next few days, so call now!)

These days we know that anything electronic/computerized can be hacked. No matter if it’s the Pentagon. We need to be able to see that our vote is being counted correctly. We need to be able to verify that it is. That’s what this bill is about. (No more “we trust you” systems for something as crucial as our vote.)

The electronic voting machines are aging and need to be replaced across the state, anyway–both in the larger counties which use them for a majority of their votes, and in the small counties that use them only for the handicapped. This bill will ensure that new equipment purchases will provide the counties with the equipment that will make sure that the citizen’s vote actually reflects their intent and that the count is verifiable and auditable by a paper trail that the voters themselves have marked.

(NOTE: This bill will cost the state of MO little or nothing. Statewide it will result in savings. It allows counties to keep using their present equipment for the handicapped, as required by the “Help America Vote Act”, until the equipment wears out. At that time the ‘for handicapped’ equipment purchased must generate a paper ballot that can be used as an auditable paper trail. These machines are called Ballot Marking Devices.)

Find your senator and call now, please! (Or call them all 🙂 http://www.senate.mo.gov/13info/senateroster.htm

Missouri State Senate

http://www.senate.mo.gov
All written correspondence may be sent to: Senator senator’s name 201 W Capitol Ave., Rm. room numbe…

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:20

CISPA Supporters Outspent Opponents 38 to 1

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The “cooling saucer” effect might be working in the Senate the way the Founders intended. According to various reports, the Senate is too weary from trying to hammer out bills relating to immigration and gun control to face the gauntlet that would come from taking up the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

By a vote of 288-127, the House of Representatives passed CISPA, a measure that if enacted would have far-reaching and frightening effects on the right of Americans “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” as protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.), one of a handful of lawmakers who consistently vote against unconstitutional bills, tweeted this explanation of the dangers latent in CISPA: “CIPSA destroys freedom of contract, prohibits companies from making legally binding commitment to users not to share personal data/e-mails.”

Later, just prior to the roll call vote in the House, Amash warned on his Facebook page, “The bill threatens our due process rights protected under the Fourth Amendment and prohibits companies from guaranteeing your privacy.”

Amash is right. CISPA’s threat to our most fundamental rights is real and irreversible if passed by the Senate and signed by the president (the president has repeatedly insisted that he would veto the bill, however).

For example, CISPA would obliterate (and invalidate) all Internet privacy laws presently in force. Companies large and small would be permitted to turn over to the federal government users’ e-mails, usernames, passwords, browsing history, and most other forms of electronically stored information.

That’s not all. According to information distributed by CISPA’s two largest opponents — the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — the data the government is targeting with CISPA includes medical records, credit reports, and most other “personally identifiable information” that might be caught in a cybersecurity net.

Who would be the most likely recipient of this cache of personal digital profiles? The National Security Agency (NSA). Agents of the this domestic surveillance mammoth would need no warrant before approaching Internet companies with requests for their customers’ otherwise private information.

Although proponents of the bill point out that Internet companies could redact their customers’ most private information, the text of CISPA contains no provision for such protection of privacy.

Beyond simply “allowing” Internet companies (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) to pass private information along to the NSA (and other federal departments, including the Pentagon), CISPA shields these corporate collaborators from all civil and criminal liability for their betrayal.

In fact, although most customers enter into valid, enforceable contracts with Internet companies requiring the latter to protect their privacy, CISPA voids these agreements in the face of federal requests for personal data.

And, thanks to the indemnification clauses, should companies share information with federal agents, users would be left without legal recourse whatsoever.

The San Jose Mercury News — a media outlet covering Silicon Valley — reports that with regard to turning over private user data under CISPA, “Valley companies are largely in favor of the bill. Sharing information about cyberattacks has significant value to them, and freeing them from liability is a bonus.”

Again, supporters of giving the federal government this immense power to increase their scope of surveillance point out that companies are not required to hand over their customers’ data; CISPA makes participation voluntary.

What is not voluntary, however, is customer participation with the unconstitutional seizure of their private information. Under CISPA, no user would ever be informed of any request received by these companies by the federal government for his private data.

Recent legislation makes it clear that Congress (and the president) are determined to deprive Americans of their basic constitutionally protected civil liberties. ObamaCare robs business owners of their right to freely exercise their religious beliefs, several bills being considered would unconstitutionally infringe on the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, the rapid construction of the surveillance state is demolishing the Fourth Amendment, the National Defense Authorization Act effectively repeals the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, and on and on.

What could compel so many congressmen to betray their oaths of office and vote to give the domestic surveillance apparatus unfettered access to citizens’ most private electronically stored information?

Here’s a hint from a story published by National Journal:

According to data from the Sunlight Foundation, CISPA allies have spent $605 million on lobbying since 2011. The biggest spenders were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which blew $163 million, and AT&T, which spent $34 million. In all, 52 groups donated at least $100,000 each to members of Congress.

In a word: money.

What about the dollars doled out by groups fighting CISPA? The data tell the tale. Again, from the National Journal report:

Opponents of CISPA spent a grand total of $4.3 million in Congress fighting it and other measures. For a better idea of what that looks like, for every $1 spent by CISPA critics like the American Civil Liberties Union, proponents of the bill spent nearly $38.

Though the amount of money being thrown around by those who would benefit from CISPA is daunting, the fight is not over.

Citizens concerned about their right to privacy and the right to use the Internet without fear of federal agents collecting their personal data are encouraged to contact their senators and encourage them to vote against CISPA when it comes to that chamber for a vote.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, and the surveillance state. He can be reached at jwolverton@thenewamerican.com.

The Chief “Public Servant” wants to flaunt the law. Your thoughts are welcome.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talks with reporters after addressing a state emergency management annual conference in St. Charles, Missouri on April 25, 2013. Nixon called on the General Assembly to reverse dramatic cuts to public safety and homeland security funding in the budget passed by the Missouri Senate earlier this week. The state Senate’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget included a $21 million cut to federal homeland security funds, representing about half of the funding that helps local communities prepare for and respond to emergencies like terrorist attacks and natural disasters.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talks with reporters after addressing a state emergency management annual conference in St. Charles, Missouri on April 25, 2013. Nixon called on the General Assembly to reverse dramatic cuts to public safety and homeland security funding in the budget passed by the Missouri Senate earlier this week. The state Senate’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget included a $21 million cut to federal homeland security funds, representing about half of the funding that helps local communities prepare for and respond to emergencies like terrorist attacks and natural disasters. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (MDN) – A weeks-long controversy involving the state illegally sharing the personal information of Missouri gun owners took a dramatic turn Thursday as Gov. Jay Nixon said he will not testify in a trial on the matter in a southeastern Missouri court.

The Stoddard County Circuit court has issued a subpoena for Nixon to testify on May 3rd as part of a case involving Missouri license offices sharing information about gun owners with the federal government and third-party companies. The plaintiff’s attorney in the case, Russell Oliver, has said he wants to question several high-ranking state officials in connection with the lawsuit against the state Department of Revenue and a local license office.

KMOX reporter Brett Blume cornered the governor at an event in St. Charles on Thursday and asked him whether he plans to answer Oliver’s questions.

“Governor what about the subpoena? And are you going to appear at the May 3rd hearing?” Blume asked.

In a jumbled answer, the governor first flatly rejected the idea that he would appear in Stoddard County. Then he quickly said he’d turn the matter over to his legal counsel.

“No,” Nixon said. “I, I, I’ve, people, by golly, guys, I’ve been in public service for 26 years, I’ve been, uh, huh, eh, I’ll leave that to the lawyers.”

Nixon’s lawyers can ask the court in Stoddard County to quash the subpoena, meaning the governor would not have to show up. But public records of the case’s filings show that no such motion had been filed as of Thursday afternoon. Oliver also said that he hadn’t received any notice of such a motion, which would require a court hearing to decide.

Nixon could be held in contempt of court if he refuses to comply with the subpoena and the state Constitution allows a governor to be impeached if he breaks the law.

(Read full story here)

This is GREAT News!

By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Senate followed through with its threat of slashing the Department of Revenue budget by completely eliminating funding for the driver’s license bureau in a budget proposal passed Monday night.

That plan would ax 37 full-time positions in the DOR’s license division in a $3.5 million cut. The trims also include a reduction of $7 million in DOR administrative costs, $9 million from the computer technology division of the Office of Administration and another $20 million from the Department of Public Safety administration.

LOST LICENSE? The current Senate budget eliminates licensing funding completely.

The way Republican senators see it, all of these departments had a hand in invading citizens’ privacy. The budget includes $2 million for a sheriffs’ task force to oversee producing conceal carry permits, stripping that duty from DOR.

Some lawmakers are incensed with the revenue department for its new practice of scanning and maintaining copies of important documents of state residents, such as passports and birth certificates, when they obtain a state driver’s license. Concealed carry weapon certificates were also a part of the practice until Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the DOR to cease that practice last week.

It came to light that the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a division of the Department of Public Safety, sent lists of the state’s concealed carry permits holders to the Social Security Administration as part of a federal fraud investigation.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, hopes the Senate’s actions will spur more open discussion on the issue.

“I’m pretty confident that this will get someone’s attention … and we’ll start getting those answers,” he said.

Carl Bearden, a former GOP lawmaker and founder of United for Missouri, which has hounded Nixon on this issue, said the Senate’s actions should spur more forthrightness.

“They obviously fail to grasp the importance and impact of this scandal,” Bearden told Missouri Watchdog on Tuesday. “This long Nixon scandal is impacting a lot of things associated with confidence in state government.”
YouTube

Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, expressed concern that the budget would curtail the state’s ability to provide some important services. Schaefer admitted the cut would prevent the DOR from issuing driver’s licenses, but few expect the final budget to contain zero funding for the licensing division.

“I want to make sure we’re not affecting people who basically caught friendly fire who didn’t do anything wrong,” said McKenna during lengthy debate on the budget Monday night.

The Senate will meet with the House to negotiate a final version of the 2014 budget, which must be passed by May 10, a week before the 2013 session of the Missouri General Assembly ends.

The next fiscal year begins July 1.

Nixon to testify in document scanning lawsuit

There were more developments in the DOR document scanning flap Monday as Nixon was subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit over the issue and a House member announced he would investigate the department.

The Southeast Missourian reported the subpoena was issued to Nixon in a suit brought by Eric Griffin, a Stoddard County man who was forced to submit to the scanning procedures to get his concealed carry endorsement.

Griffin’s attorney, Russ Oliver, stood with House Speaker Tim Jones on the steps of the Commons Pleas Courthouse in Cape

NIXON: The state’s chief executive has been subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit over the document scanning.

Girardeau to announce the subpoena. That facility was the scene of a public forum on the scanning issue Monday night.

Oliver said he decided to ask for Nixon’s testimony after weeks of evasive answers.

“This subpoena is not being issued to harass or vex the governor,” he said. “We just want the truth.”

Attorney General Chris Koster, previously silent on the issue after Jones held a news conference in front of his office calling for an investigation, at the forum said the known facts “are moving around a great deal, still.”

“Let’s develop a set of facts that we can rely upon, and then work to address policy decisions that protect the rights of Missourians and protect the rights of gun owners in this state,” he said.

Also Monday, Rep. Eric Burlison released a statement saying he would investigate, with plans to send an open-records request to the DOR for records related to the new scanning procedures.

Schaefer received about 50 boxes of documents from DOR earlier this month.

“This has been a story that has become more alarming with every new fact that has been discovered,” said Burlison, R-Springfield. “The Missouri people want the truth about what the department has done with their personal information, and I want to do everything I can to help bring that information to light.”

Contact Johnny Kampis at johnny@missouriwatchdog.org.  For more Missouri Watchdog updates, visit Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our free newsletter with investigative reports and breaking news alerts.   

Nixon DOR Subpoena

Posted: April 23, 2013 in REAL ID

Nixon served with subpoena to appear for DOR deposition, exclusive interview with plaintiff in Stoddard Co. suit

By Sarah Burson

Special from the SEMO TIMES

DEXTER, Mo. – On April 10, Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters in Springfield that a Stoddard County court had dismissed Eric Griffin’s case regarding the Misouri Department of Revenue’s controversial document scanning practice.

Left to right, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver and Eric Griffin. Oliver is representing Griffen in the court case that began the Department of Revenue document scanning questions and concerns.

Left to right, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver and Eric Griffin. Oliver is representing Griffen in the court case that began the Department of Revenue document scanning questions and concerns.

Now, he will be served with a subpoena to appear for a deposition on May 3 at the Stoddard County courthouse to give sworn testimony in the case.

“The governor could not have been more wrong when he told reporters the case was thrown out,” Russ Oliver, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney who is representing Griffin in court, said. “It is just not the truth, and frankly that is becoming a recurring theme for the administration in this case.”

After turning down a restraining order that would have blocked the state from scanning personal documents for those seeking conceal carry permits, Circuit Judge Rob Mayer recused himself from the case. The case is now set to be heard before Judge Scott Thomsen of Bollinger County.

Shortly after the order was handed down, Director of the Department of Revenue Brian Long resigned, and the next day, Nixon announced the state would no longer require some documents be scanned in order to issue conceal and carry permits.

“This is just an aesthetic attempt to gloss over the real issues here. We just want to see DOR follow the law, and find out who is responsible for this scandal,” Oliver said.

For the first time, Griffin has spoken out about the case.

A resident of Advance, Mo., in northern Stoddard County who lives a quiet life shoeing horses, Griffin said, “I have never been in any kind of politics. I have never been inclined get in that mess.”

Griffin told the SEMO TIMES that he had never run for office, went to a political meeting or even allowed a political yard sign to be placed in his yard. He laughed out loud when asked if he had ever given money to a politician.

“I did this because it is wrong to try to take people’s guns, and the government has no business building lists of gun owners,” Griffin said.

When asked, he said he had supported Nixon in the past, but his support for Nixon may have ended.

“I supported Jay Nixon in the past, but let me tell you — when he is in cahoots with Obama helping his gun control agenda, that is where I draw the line,” he said.

Oliver concluded, “Eric Griffin is a perfect example of a Missourian who had enough government over reach and had the courage to stand up for himself and his friends and neighbors and right a wrong. I look forward to asking the governor under oath what he knew and when he knew it. It is likely the only way we ever get to the bottom of this scandal.”

(article source)

Witnesses / Witness Forms needed for Senate Hearing

Having passed the House of Representative with a resounding veto-proof majority of 115 to 41, HB 436 now goes to the Senate.

Good Video report on passage of HB 436.

After being assigned to committee, the next step is another public hearing. As we did in the House, we need to make a loud and unmistakable statement about the People’s desire to pass this bill asap!

We aren’t sure exactly when the hearing will be scheduled, but please fill out your witness form now, so we will be prepared.

Witness Form – I will hand deliver your witness form and also make your testimony available online for the committee to read.

Generic Witness Form: Witness form link for HB 436

 

Details about HB 436 & SB 325

Since the 10th Amendment makes it clear that all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states and the People, the regulation of the ownership of arms is a state, not a federal matter.

That applies to ALL such regulation.

We must demand from our legislators no less than the strongest, most principled stand they can take to defend our right to keep and bear arms!

Rep. Doug Funderburk and Sen. Brian Nieves’ “Second Amendment Preservation Act” is the strongest and most principled protection of the right to keep and bear arms in the nation!.

Notice that it utilizes the words of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to explain Missouri’s authority to nullify unconstitutional federal edicts within her borders. Including this language is essential to the success of the bill. It also specifically lists the types of things we will not put up with, and that’s what gives state officials the “cover” they need to enforce the bill.

The New American article about HB 436.

We will hold our regular monthly meeting at the Hayloft Restaurant in Mountain Grove, Mo from 7-9pm on Thursday, April 25th.

Topics of discussion will include the latest information on the Department of Revenue and their illegal implementation of real ID across the State of Missouri. Also, an update on the USDA’s animal identification program, and current State legislation of significant interest.

Please come early to enjoy the food at the Hayloft. They have a good buffet and a regular menu to chose from. The meeting starts promptly at 7pm, and no food is allowed in the meeting room, so be sure to arrive early and support those who support our fights for private property rights!

We look forward to seeing you all there!