By DAVID MONTGOMERY | email@example.com | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: March 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm | UPDATED: March 30, 2017 at 6:39 pm
In a surprise move, the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday voted to bar internet service providers from selling their users’ personal data without express written consent.
The move was a reaction to a Tuesday vote in Congress to lift a ban on that practice imposed in 2016 by the Federal Communication Commission.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, offered the amendment on to the Senate’s economic development budget bill, saying it was urgently needed to protect Minnesotans’ privacy after the congressional vote.
Latz’s amendment was challenged under Senate rules on the grounds that it would impose a cost on a state agency and thus needed to go through committee rather than be added on the floor. Such challenges are usually routine, party-line affairs. But Republicans have just a one-vote majority in the Senate, and nothing is routine when any lawmaker has the potential to swing a vote.
Republican Sen. Warren Limmer, of Maple Grove, broke with his party to overturn the Senate president’s ruling and allow the internet privacy amendment to continue by a single vote.
“We should be outraged at the invasion that’s being allowed on our most intimate means of communication,” said Limmer, a longstanding privacy advocate. “This is an amendment that so urgently needs to be addressed.”
Once the amendment cleared this procedural hurdle, it was overwhelmingly added to the bill on a 66-1 vote. The lone critic, Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, said Latz’s amendment needed more study and review before being adopted.