- Bills aim to protect citizens against intrusive government, promote individual freedoms
- Tackle government surveillance, Internet privacy, mandatory COVID vaccinations, efforts to silence political speech
- Individual rights under attack, Ericksen says
OLYMPIA – Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is announcing a “Freedom Package” of bills designed to protect the constitutional rights and freedoms granted to the citizenry of Washington.
“Now more than ever, the rights of the individual citizen are under attack,” Ericksen said. “Whether it is the prying eyes of international big-tech or the heavy hand of government surveillance, regulations or mandates, we the people need to reestablish our rights.”
The bills, introduced for consideration during the 2021 legislative session, include:
- SB 5108 – Eliminating secret surveillance scoring. The bill prohibits state agencies from engaging in surveillance scoring.
Ericksen said, “There has been a lot of talk about data and online privacy, but legislation has always missed the target. We need to clearly and decisively prohibit Chinese-style secret surveillance scores and any type of social-credit scoring by the government.”
- SB 5109 – Protecting citizens from persecution by the attorney general’s office. Under this bill, the attorney general’s office would be prohibited from seeking penalties that would bar individuals from participating in the political arena.
Ericksen said, “The attorney general has extensive powers under current state law. We need to make sure the attorney general does not abuse that power in an attempt to silence political speech or seek excessive penalties against political foes.”
- SB 5112 – Virtual private networks. The bill would require Internet providers to offer virtual private network service, and bars providers from prohibiting the use of virtual private networks.
Ericksen said, “The Internet should not be a tool for big tech or the government to violate your privacy. In addition to banning secret surveillance scores and social credit scores, we should ensure every person on the Internet should be able to operate in a virtual private network when they want to, at no additional cost to them.”
- SB 5143 – Free and Fair Elections Act of 2021. The bill would restore polling-place voting in Washington state with additional voting options, permit absentee mail-in balloting upon annual request, require ID for voting, and require that voting machines establish a paper trail for audit purposes. For more information, click here.
Ericksen said, “There is nothing more critical to our freedom than free, fair and honest elections. My legislation will restore trust in our elections by preventing fraud at all levels and allowing greater flexibility in how people vote. With the current system, there is no way to know who actually casts a ballot, and that destroys trust in our system. Our current elections system in the state of Washington is the system most vulnerable to fraud, and the Free and Fair Elections Act will put in place the safest and most secure voting system with the most voting options for the public.”
- SB 5144 – COVID-19 Vaccination Choice Act. The bill would prohibit discrimination based on COVID vaccination status, and prohibit vaccination requirements for employment, travel, school and entry to public places. For more information, click here.
Ericksen said, “Every person should have the right to decide for themselves and for their underage family members whether to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This legislation prevents discrimination in employment, education or the right to travel against those who decide not to get the shot. This is not pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine legislation. This legislation deals only with COVID-19.”