The right to assemble is of fundamental importance to our
democracy. From the earliest days of our country’s founding it has been a
paramount liberty, one that our Founding Fathers exercised in defiance of the crown
to declare their Independence.
It is a given that in America, people are free to gather to
celebrate a mutual interest, or to support a common cause.
That freedom is at risk, however, when potentially
politically motivated government actors can unequivocally demand membership
information from not-for-profit associations. This information—like citizen’s
names, addresses, etc.—is often made publicly available and leads to harassment
by ideological opponents.
This is why SB 16 is so important: it established clear
protections of privacy, and strict requirements on the government for
collecting information on innocent citizens who are merely using their First
Amendment Rights to free speech.