The Verge website asked governors in all 50 states if they’d take steps to prevent use of state databases — every thing from driver to public benefit records — by federal agencies seeking to, say, build a registry of Muslims or immigrants.
Only 16 governors, not including Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, responded. Of those 16, only three — in Washington, Vermont and Oregon — indicated they would actively look at taking such steps. Some legislators (none in Arkansas to date) are interested in protecting state residents from Trump administration information mining.
In Washington state, which has taken a leading role in opposing President Trump’s controversial travel ban executive order, Governor Jay Inslee has ordered his policy and legal staff to conduct a review of data held by selected government agencies and determine whether any data useful to Trump’s deportation force could be shielded from the new administration.
Meanwhile, legislators in New York, Washington state, California, and Massachusetts have proposed laws to hide state data from the Trump administration. Last week Oregon governor Kate Brown issued a directive ordering that no state resources be used to create a Muslim registry. In response to The Verge’s questions about any additional steps being looked at to keep Oregon’s data away from the Trump administration, Brown’s office said that Governor “Brown is exploring further ways to protect Oregonians against polices [sic] that are not in line with our state’s values” and also pointed to a recent order by the governor to overhaul the state’s cyber security from outside attackers.
Where are the federalists of the state legislatures now? Answer: Some Republicans around the country are working on laws to require compilation of data on immigrants by colleges and using other legislative means to compel local officials to cooperate with federal agencies. Not the EPA, Labor Department, OSHA and IRS, of course.