West Virginia is the most recent state to protect citizen privacy!

March 11, 2020

Earlier this month, Governor Jim Justice signed the Protect Our Right to Unite Act (Senate Bill 16), making West Virginia the third state to sign critical citizen privacy legislation into law. Mississippi and Arizona have also enacted protections for individuals who support churches, charities, social welfare groups, and other nonprofit organizations.

The legislation received wide bipartisan support that included groups such as the West Virginia chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans for Prosperity. The bill unanimously passed the Senate with no debate, and it passed the House with strong support in a 75-22 vote.

“The purpose of this bill is to protect the membership and voter information from agencies of the government and from public disclosure by agencies of the government, except where is necessary,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump said.

This law prevents public officials from demanding that nonprofit organizations turn over their lists of members, donors and volunteers, and if a government agency already has possession of a list, they are required to keep that information confidential.

The law does not preclude existing campaign finance laws in West Virginia. For example, donations to political campaigns that are currently disclosed will continue to be disclosed. The act also does not preclude any lawful warrant for information. An individual who believes their individual right to privacy has been violated may bring suit for relief.

Thank you to West Virginia’s state leadership for protecting citizen privacy!

Read more:
WV Senate advances bill to prohibit state from disclosing identity of some nonprofit donors
Legislature passes bill prohibiting state from identifying some nonprofit donors

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