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National League of Cites: "Amend Patriot Act"

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posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 05:17 PM
Does anybody remember reading about this the
main stream press?
This is great!! There still may be hope to get
our civil liberties back!!

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Portions of the USA PATRIOT Act compromise the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and should be amended, says a resolution recently passed by the National League of Cities at its annual meeting. The National League of Cities called for amendments to restore protections of the fundamental civil liberties of Americans.

The resolution says that while the National League of Cities believes that efforts to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism require extensive coordination among the federal, state, and local governments, such efforts "should not disproportionately infringe on the essential civil rights and liberties of the people of the United States." The PATRIOT Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in October, 2001, after the September 11 attacks.

The National League of Cities believes that a number of provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act threaten fundamental rights and civil liberties, including those that:

-- Permit law enforcement to perform searches with no one present and to delay notification of the search of a citizen's home (Section 213);

-- Permit the FBI Director to seek records from bookstores and libraries including books of patrons based on minimal evidence of wrongdoing and prohibits librarians and bookstore employees from disclosing the fact that they have been ordered to produce such documents (Section 215);

-- Amend the "probable cause" requirement before conducting secret searches or surveillance to obtain evidence of a crime (Section 218);

-- Permit law enforcement authorities to have broad access to sensitive mental health, library, business, financial, and educational records despite the existence of previously adopted state and federal laws which were intended to strengthen the protection of these types of records (Sections 215, 218, 358, and 508);

-- Give the Secretary of State broad powers to designate domestic groups as "terrorist organizations" and the Attorney General power to subject immigrants to indefinite detention or deportation even if no crime has been committed (Sections 411 and 412); and

-- Impose an unfunded mandate on state and local public universities that must collect information on students who may be of interest to the Attorney General (Sections 507 and 508).

As recent National League of Cities research has shown, municipal budgets across the nation are already strained and added homeland security duties constitute unfunded mandates on local police, libraries, universities, and other budgets that cities and towns cannot financially absorb.

The resolution urges the President and executive branch members to "review, revise and rescind executive orders and policies adopted since the terrorist attacks that limit or compromise the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights" and urges Congress to amend the PATRIOT Act in order "to restore and protect our nation's fundamental and inalienable rights and liberties." NLC also supports the sunset of key provisions of the PATRIOT Act and increased Congressional oversight over agencies responsible for enforcing the law.

The resolution also supports the "Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003," which would reinstate legal standards for libraries and bookstores, and the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act, which would require a court order before conducting electronic surveillance.

Arlington, Mass. Selectman Charlie Lyons, president of the National League of Cities, said, "Cities and towns need a partnership with the federal government on homeland security issues that makes sure we have the resources we need to get the job done but also preserves the liberties that Americans hold dear."

The National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization for American cities. NLC serves as a resource and advocate for 18,000 cities, towns and villages of all sizes, from New York City to Bee Cave, Texas, which collectively serve 225 million people. Visit


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