You’ll see three proposals on the ballot if you vote in Calhoun County.  (Don’t forget to look on the back.)   The local proposal to charge devices like your cell phone to pay for Calhoun County’s 911 emergency system is a flat out tax increase.  You might support it.  You might not.  The system is great now, but the surcharge might help out cities like Battle Creek with their budget challenges, as it could free up a big chunk of money that’s being used to pay for 911 calls now.  Part of the problem is figuring out how much you’ll play, as it charges every device, home, and business, that has a phone number.

Michigan Proposal 1 is pretty tricky.  You might want to read up on that one, which could divert more dollars from the proceeds of the state-owned oil and gas reserves to improve existing parks.  There seem to be more people in ok with Proposal 1 than there are against it.  Still, there are concerns that the proposal doesn’t go far enough in spelling out how the money can be spent.

Proposal 2, is simple and straightforward and is something we all should vote for.   It protects our privacy without handcuffing our police.

Proposal 2     "A proposed constitutional amendment to require a search warrant in order to access a person’s electronic data or electronic communications.

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Prohibit unreasonable searches or seizures of a person’s electronic data and electronic communications.
  • Require a search warrant to access a person’s electronic data or electronic communications, under the same conditions currently required for the government to obtain a search warrant to search a person’s house or seize a person’s things.

More and more people these days are rolling over and giving up their individual rights for the promise of safety.  Safety from viruses, terrorists, and criminals.   Others, like me, take those rights very seriously.   It’s nice to see someone stepping up to defend those rights.   In the past, it might have been the once-mighty ALCU that would do that.  But today’s ACLU seems to only be interested in protecting the free speech they and their radical left members agree with.  In all fairness, it should be noted that the ACLU did bring up the matter 12 years ago, but that was a very different ACLU.

No, the person leading the charge to protect our privacy in Michigan is Conservative State Senator Jim Runestad, a Republican from Oakland County.   Senator Runestad put the proposal together over the past six years, and it makes it to the ballot, with a little last-minute help from Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield.  Chatfield put it up for a vote, lawmakers in both the House and Senate voted unanimously to put it on the ballot.  With that kind of bipartisan support these days, it must be a no-brainer.  The ACLU even offered a letter of support.

Sen. Runestad says he became very concerned that Michigan law wasn’t keeping up with advances in technology when he noted that police organizations were using what he called “very intrusive, often military-grade equipment that departments are getting and mimic a cell phone tower.”   Sen. Runestad says it could pull all of the data off of your phone. “There are departments that have proudly used this kind of equipment hundreds of times without a warrant.”

Sen. Runestad says there is still a provision for exigent circumstances.  “Let’s say that a child is kidnapped and a suspected kidnapper is fleeing and they need to ping his phone to locate him.  That is permitted under current law and will continue to be permitted.”

Sen. Runestad the language of the proposal is very similar to one in the state of Missouri six years ago and passed by voters.  He says he’s been diligently checking with every level of law enforcement there to see if there have been problems.  “They all said no, this causes us no problem.  It was that due diligence over those six years that finally resulted in getting this over the line and getting the overwhelming approval in the legislature.”

Tim Collins is the Morning Show Host on Battle Creek's News/Talk 95.3 WBCK.

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