There is broad public support for individual privacy protections. That is why on Thursday, March 28, 2019, Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law to ensure that the privacy of Mississippians is protected when exercising their free speech rights by supporting non-profit causes and charities.
H.B. 1205 ensures that the state’s public agencies shall not require any entity organized under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code to provide an agency with personal information about donors. The new law provides injunctive relief for violations of this act.
In signing the bill, Governor Bryant said, “In recent years, charitable donations have been weaponized by certain groups against individuals in order to punish donors whose political beliefs differ from their own. I was pleased today to sign House Bill 1205, which protects the free speech rights of Mississippians who generously make charitable contributions.”
Bill sponsors included Representatives Jerry Turner and Mark Baker. In commentary published in a Washington Times article, they explained that, “in Mississippi…independent polling of regular voters showed 81 percent supported legislation to protect privacy. Only a mere 11 percent would oppose ‘a law in Mississippi that protects the personal information of individuals who donate to causes and charities of their choice.'”
Turner and Baker went on to say that, “most importantly, this law protects those who might have their private information targeted and revealed without their consent” and “providing restitution will rightfully combat the efforts of those interested in making your information public.”
Thank you to Mississippi leaders for protecting the free speech rights of Mississippi citizens. People United for Privacy encourages policymakers in other states to follow their lead.