The Wyoming Legislature is set to consider a measure in its session starting next month that would allow voters to decide whether to change the state constitution to recognize an individual right to privacy.
Proponents say the increasing collection of data by private industry and government makes the measure necessary.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 other state constitutions already recognize citizens’ right to privacy. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina and Washington.
The Wyoming Legislature rejected a similar measure last year. Opponents cautioned that last year’s proposal didn’t include language specifying that the public would still have a right to view information about government operations.
A legislative subcommittee reconsidered the issue after last year’s session and came up with the current version. The new proposal specifies that it wouldn’t deprive people of the right to inspect public records or observe government operations except in cases in which the demand for individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
Jim Angell, executive director of the Wyoming Press Association, said Tuesday that his organization insisted on the added protections in the current version. The Associated Press is a member of the press association.
“After some debate, the committee, I think wisely, agreed that the balancing language was needed in the amendment,” Angell said. “So as it stands right now, we support it. It’s our hope that somebody won’t try to split those two apart.”
Read More: Wyoming Legislature Set to Consider ‘Right to Privacy’ – ABC News