It has been a tumultuous week. The killing of Daunte Wright has sparked more backlash against law enforcement. As protesters take to the streets, it is important that we remain vigilant and document potential law enforcement misconduct. It is all well and good to build institutional checks against government abuse of power, but ultimately the question “Who Watches the Watchers?” must be answered with “We The People”.
We will also be hosting additional workshops on Surveillance Self Defense through the end of April, which will be added to our calendar soon. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more details.
Fusion Center Funding Victory
In more uplifting news, the additional funding for the Minnesota fusion center has been removed from the House Public Safety and Senate Judiciary omnibus budget bills. For those who may not have been tracking this story, In mid-March we became aware that Governor Walz was planning to add millions of additional taxpayer dollars to the Minnesota Fusion Center’s budget and transform it into a 24/7/365 operation. Fusion Centers are little known, but the threat they pose is real.
As an organization dedicated to ending unconstitutional mass government surveillance, Restore the Fourth finds Fusion Centers to be incredibly dangerous institutions. We immediately saw this budget proposal for what it was, an attempt to leverage fears of “domestic terrorism” to justify a massive expansion of government surveillance powers.
To fight against the proposed expansion, we initiated an email and petition campaign, began meeting with allies at the legislature, collaborated with other lobbying entities, testified at relevant committee hearings, hosted an event highlighting the issues with fusion centers, and began a public education campaign on social media.
It is easier to scuttle bad bills then it is to support good ones, but this was still a difficult fight. Particularly in the house, where the majority party broke ranks with the governor despite belonging to the same party. Big thanks to all of our volunteers who mobilized to to help us win this battle!
Of course there is still a small chance the funding could be added back via floor amendments in either chamber, so we will continue to keep our eye on things at the legislature, and we will keep you posted if things change.
As always, we cannot do this work without you: please donate to RT4 so we can continue to fight to restore and protect your 4th Amendment rights. RT4 National has approved donation matching for up to $1,500 of any money we raise between now and June 30, so please consider donating to the RT4MN chapter so we can maximize your contribution.