Government surveillance a hot topic in Colorado

DENVER - Colorado lawmakers are pushing several bills this year that seek to limit government surveillance -- proposals that have gained momentum in the wake of revelations about federal collection of phone and email records.

Some of the bills have been in the works for a couple of years, but lawmakers say disclosures about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs  and the long-standing debate over the adoption of the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has helped spur a conversation.

Rep. Polly Lawrence sponsored a bill this session limiting how long agencies keep "passive surveillance" records like video images of traffic conditions or activity in parking garages. The legislation has been signed into law.

Other measures are pending and have good chances of passing because they have bipartisan support.

One proposal would refer a question to voters in November asking whether law enforcement should get warrants to search electronic data, such as phone and email records, or personal data stored in remote servers known as the cloud. If approved by lawmakers and voters, the requirement would be added to the state constitution.

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