Privacy bill moves forward

Privacy bill moves to keep your dates of birth private; meanwhile, Freedom Foundation turns up the heat at the Supreme Court on this issue

The humane Senate bill to keep state employees’ dates of birth private took a big step toward passage Friday (Jan. 26) when the Senate State Government Committee passed SB 6079 and sent it the Senate Rules Committee.

With that action, the committee kept the bill alive. I has until Feb. 14 to pass the full Senate. The Senate Rules Committee schedules bills for votes of the full Senate.

SB 6079 would exempt public employee dates of birth from public disclosure requirements.

And as you know, the issue is already in the courts. AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) won before the state Court of Appeals in October where judges said state employees have a constitutional right to keep their dates of birth private.

But the Freedom Foundation is not giving up its effort to jeopardize your safety and security by getting its hands on your date of birth. Birthdays unlock a whole host of private information, including cybersecurity threats as outlined by the bill’s sponsor last week.

The foundation on Nov. 30 filed what’s called a petition for discretionary review by the state Supreme Court with hopes of overturning their defeat in the Court of Appeals.

AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) and a coalition of unions on Jan. 5 filed its formal response to the Supreme Court, urging justices not to grant the review because the appeals court had ruled correctly.

But now the Freedom Foundation is trying a new strategy: Pitting media magnates against state employees. Yesterday (Jan. 25) the Seattle Times, associations of newspapers and broadcasters and former Republican lawmaker Toby Nixon’s “open government coalition” filed “friend-of-the-court” motions in support of the foundation’s request for review by the Supreme Court. It is ironic that these are the same media companies that solicit newspaper, TV, radio, internet and social media advertising from AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) and the 40,000-plus members whose lives and families would be harmed if their dates of birth turn up for no good reason in the pages of the Seattle Times or the airwaves of KVI radio.