Tennessee's new cell phone surveillance law — which goes into effect July 1 — is backed up by a recent Supreme Court ruling. A release from the Senate Republicans:
Legislation sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Representative Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) which prohibits law enforcement officers from searching or seizing a person’s cellular telephone data without first obtaining a warrant is set to take effect on July 1. The new law, Public Chapter 785, prohibits the search and seizure of a cellular phone during a routine traffic stop, and states that no cellular telephone data that is obtained in violation of the legislation is admissible as evidence in any court of law.
Supporters of Tennessee’s new law were further bolstered by this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding cellular phone privacy. In Riley v. California, Chief Justice John Roberts authored a unanimous decision stating that the Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain a search warrant prior to the search of a cellular phone – using arguments similar to those put forth by Senator Beavers this past legislative session.
“Searching or seizing a person’s cellphone or smartphone data without any judicial oversight is a major invasion of the privacy of our citizens,” said Senator Beavers. “I am thrilled that the U.S. Supreme Court further emphasized the importance of protecting against increased government encroachment into our everyday lives. As Justice Roberts stated, a search of someone’s phone can be more intrusive than a search of their home. Therefore, we must continue to be vigilant to ensure that our constitutional freedoms are protected, even in light of the technological advances in our society.”
In his concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito also acknowledged the roles of state legislatures in debating privacy laws, stating that “Legislatures, elected by the people, are in a better position than we are to assess and respond to the changes that have already occurred and those that almost certainly will take place in the future.”
From Harwell's office:
“Earlier today, my office received an envelope with a suspicious substance, and law enforcement was alerted. Several agencies responded. There were two staffers from my office present at the time, and I was not on the premises. The material was deemed not hazardous, and we have received the ‘all clear.’ We sincerely appreciate the actions of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Metro Police Department, the Metro Fire Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, TBI, Metro Hazardous Materials Unit, and TEMA for taking swift and appropriate action to ensure our employees and the public are safe.” –Speaker Beth Harwell
Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, a long-time Tennessee Republican stalwart who served as Ronald Reagan's chief of staff and as ambassador to Japan, has died. He was 88.
A statement from Lamar Alexander:
“Howard Baker was Tennessee’s favorite son, one of America’s finest leaders and for Honey and me an indispensable friend. He built our state’s two-party political system and inspired three generations to try to build a better state and country. It is difficult to express how much we honor his life and how much we will miss him.”
Alexander was Sen. Baker’s first legislative assistant in 1967 and 1968. Baker served the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Senate, where he eventually was elected Majority Leader, from 1967 to 1985. Baker subsequently served as chief of staff to President Reagan and U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Alexander met his wife Honey when he worked for Baker and she for Texas senator John Tower.
And Bob Corker:
“When I think of the ultimate statesman, the very first person who comes to my mind is Howard Baker.
“Howard Baker was one of those people who had the unique ability to bring out the very best in those around him. He always put our country’s interests first, and lived a life of service that everyone in public office should aspire to emulate. I have cherished the privilege of being able to sit down and talk with Howard on many occasions, and I will always value his words of encouragement.
“Elizabeth and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Nancy, the Baker family and all those who have been touched by Howard’s remarkable life.”