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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Constitutional Amendment On Electronic Privacy Going Before Montana Voters

A conceptual graphic showing a padlock in front of nodes representing internet connections.

Montanans will consider a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution in the next election that aims to enhance privacy protections.

Montana lawmakers, with broad support, endorsed the proposal. It asks voters to decide whether or not to give electronic data and communications constitutional protection against unreasonable search or seizure.

The bill’s language, carried by Republican Sen. Kenneth Bogner of Miles City, will appear on the next statewide ballot.

In a news release, Bogner says the goal is to bring Montana’s Constitution into the 21st Century and that the government should need a warrant to access electronic data and communications.

The bill passed with two-thirds of the Legislature in favor of it, which is required for a constitutional amendment.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan and Missouri were the first states to have this type of protection in place.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.
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