Local politician introduces bill defying NSA surveillance program

ALPINE, Calif. - A local state senator has introduced a landmark proposal to defy President Obama's National Security Agency surveillance program.

Republican Joel Anderson has authored a bipartisan bill aimed at cutting off support for the spy program.         

California has becomes the third state to introduce legislation designed to thwart NSA surveillance.

The revelation continues to stoke public fears: the daily phone calls of millions of Americans tracked and telephone numbers logged. 

The NSA surveillance program is now receiving pushback on the state level.

"We want to make sure Californians are protected against a rogue NSA," said Anderson, who represents the 36th District.

Anderson joined with Democrat Ted Lieu to introduce SB-828, which would ban state agencies, officials and companies that provides state services from supporting NSA spying without a warrant.

As examples, Anderson points to state records like DMV and health records.

"The state is leaning hard on private companies to give up this information … It hasn't happened with the state yet, but we're not going to wait until there's a train wreck," said Anderson. "We're going to prevent it before it happens."

A looming question: Could this state bill protect Californians' telephone records by defining phone companies as companies that provide state services?

Sources tell 10News that will be determined as the bill is shaped in the committee process.

If the bill passes, legal observers say the federal government will challenge it in court and likely win.

"My sense is the federal government will still trump state law when it comes to national security issues," said Ron Bee, a terrorism expert and San Diego State University professor.

Bee says patterns gleaned from phone records are sometimes the only lead and often the best lead when it comes to tracing and tracking terrorist activity.

"We want to protect against terrorism, but not at the cost of liberty and freedom … When you're giving this information up without due process, you're undermining the Constitution," said Anderson.

In late December, President Obama hinted there may be changes coming to the NSA surveillance program. He is expected to announce his decision later this month.

As for the state bill, it is expected to be assigned to its first committee sometime in the next few weeks.

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