This sounds good, right? Let's protect privacy. It's important for all of us. But these acts aren't about protecting you. They are about expanding protections for elected officials and penalizing citizens when the line is crossed. And the penalty is steep. A Class D felony carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Language is being added to expand the statutes already in place for judges and also to include all state elected officials, county elected officials and even election poll workers.
There are separate bills floating around to protect different groups of elected officials. They all have basically the same language although they are sponsored by a couple different legislators - Representative Peggy McGaugh and Representative Rudy Veit.
Please understand, I'm not in supporting ANY physical harm or harassment of ANYONE. However, when we include language that say "with the intent", who defines intent? How is that determined? "Intent to harass, intimidate" or even "influence the job performance" is a big problem in these bills.
This blog could be viewed as having intent to influence job performance of our elected officials. What if I mentioned to you in a blog that Senator Moon's wife and kids joined him at the Capitol for the legislative ball? Or that I ran into Representative Seitz and his wife, Valerie, while I was in Branson on vacation? If these bills pass and someone feels like I am trying to harass or intimidate, I could go to prison and have a felony conviction to live with the rest of my life...even though Senator Moon is married, loves his wife and kids and posts photos of her himself on his own social media pages. And we all know Representative Seitz and his wife Valerie live in the Branson area so I could very well run into them while I'm headed to Silver Dollar City.
These bills are just too invasive.
- HB 301 is a public safety bill sponsored by Rep Roberts with a "Privacy Act" amendment added by Rep Rudy Veit. It has passed the House and is in the Senate. This amendment pertains to judicial officers and all elected state officials and any political subdivision thereof. I've included a PDF attachment of the amendment for you to download and read as well as the link here. The following is language taken directly from the amendment beginning on page 2 line 6.
(1) "Elected official", any elected member of state government or any political subdivision thereof; (2) "Personal information", the same meaning as defined in section 407.1500. 2. A person commits the offense of unlawful disclosure of personally identifiable information if he or she knowingly releases, publicizes, or otherwise publicly discloses the name, home address, Social Security number, telephone number, or other personal information of an elected official or a family member of the elected official with the purpose to harass, intimidate, or cause death or bodily injury to the elected official or a family member of the elected official. 3. The offense of unlawful disclosure of personally identifiable information is a class A misdemeanor. However, if a violation of this section is done with the purpose to influence an elected official in the performance of such official's official duties, the offense is a class D felony.";
- HB 781 sponsored by Rep Peggy McGaugh is an election bill that grants this same protection to election officials, including volunteer poll workers. The following language is found on page 11 starting at line 88 in the bill. Emphasis added to bold words by me.
Disseminating through any means, including by posting on the internet, the personal information of the family of an election official with the intent to harass, intimidate, or influence such official in the performance of his or her duties. For the purpose of this subdivision, "personal information" includes home address, Social Security number, federal tax identification number, checking or savings account numbers, marital status, and identity of a child under eighteen years of age. For the purpose of this subdivision, the term "election official" includes election judges, challengers, watchers, and other volunteers or employees of an election authority. If a violation of this section results in death or bodily injury to an election official or a member of the official’s family, the offense shall be a class B felony.
- HB 405 sponsored by Rep Peggy McGaugh pertains to all elected county officials. The language is the same as her bill above, but please click the link to verify for yourself.
the end game
These bills are designed to protect government officials and intimidate citizens. The truth is we already have statutes on the books for stalking, harassment, assault, etc. These added measures aren't necessary and they infringe on our first amendments rights.
Protect the officials. Jail the citizens if they get offensive. Nice.
These bills need to go.
Status: Senate hearing is scheduled for Monday 2/27 at 1:30pm. Call and/or email committee members and ask for the privacy act amendment to be removed.
Sen Leutkemeyer - 573-751-2183
Sen Schroer - 573-751-1282
Sen Coleman - 573-751-1492
Sen May - 573-751-3599
Sen Roberts - 573-751-4415
Sen Rehder - 573-751-2459
Sen Trent - 573-751-1503
Email Addresses. Copy & paste into your own email server.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Status: This bill has already had a House hearing but the committee still hasn't voted on it. Please email and/or call the committee members and ask for a no vote.
Peggy McGaugh, Chair - email@example.com 573-751-2917
Dan Stacy, Vice Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573-751-8636
Joe Adams - joe.adams@ house.mo.gov. 573-751-4265
Brad Banderman - email@example.com. 573.751.0549
Donna Baringer - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573-751-4220
Tricia Byrnes - email@example.com. 573.751.1460
Jeff Coleman - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.1487
Bill Falkner - email@example.com. 573.751.9755
Roger Reedy - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.3971
Alex Riley - email@example.com. 573.751.2210
Adam Schwadron - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.2949
David Tyson Smith - email@example.com. 573.751.9753
Justin Sparks - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.0562
Cheri Toalson Reisch - email@example.com. 573-751-1169
Ken Waller - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.4451
Kevin Windham - email@example.com. 573.751.4726
Eric Woods - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.2199
HB 405 has been referred to a committee but not heard yet. Please call and/or email the committee members and ask for a no vote.
David Evans - 573-751-1455 email@example.com
Rudy Veit - 573-751-0665 firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Sauls - 573-751-5701 email@example.com
Marlon Anderson - 573-751-7605 firstname.lastname@example.org
John Black - 573-751-1167 email@example.com
Brad Christ - 573-751-2150 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Copeland - 573-751-1688 email@example.com
Michael Davis - 573-751-2175 firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Hicks - 573-751-3572 email@example.com
Ian Mackey - 573-751-3859 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameron Parker - 573-751-3629 email@example.com
Greg Sharpe - 573-751-3644 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Tyson Smith - 573-751-9753 email@example.com
Justin Sparks - 573-751-0562. firstname.lastname@example.org