Blog of Rights


A Long Week and a Long Way to Go

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 2:12pm
Hello! I'm sorry it's been a few days since my last post! I think between Monday of last week and the votes on the House floor and in the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, I may have slept only about 12 hours! Not that I've been sleeping since then--there has been much to do in the aftermath of those votes and much remains to be done! As you know, the House approved a bill late last Thursday night to reauthorize the Patriot Act and make all but two provisions a permanent part of our law. The ACLU strongly opposes that bill, which does not make meaningful reforms and would in some ways make the Patriot Act worse. The good news is that through your efforts the balance of support for reform shifted in the right direction. Nearly 200% more Members of Congress voted against HR 3199 last week than voted against the original Patriot Act in the frantic days after the 9/11 attacks. The shift is absolutely due to the efforts of everyday Americans speaking up and speaking out on the need to restore the checks and balances to the laws that preserve our liberty and privacy. So, let me say a big THANK YOU! As I wrote last time, the process in the House was terribly flawed:

Which Is More Important to Amend the Patriot Act? Punishing the Smuggling of Chewing Tobacco or Improving Train Security and Protecting Civil Liberties? House Committee Says Snuff!

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 1:08am
Late last night, the House Rules Committee in party-line votes ruled against allowing several very important amendments to the Patriot Act, such as a rail security amendment, but allowed an amendment on smuggling chewing tobacco! Last week, the House…

Rules Discussion to Be Followed by Floor Debate

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 8:09am
This afternoon the House Rules Committee will be considering requests of Members to be able to bring up amendments to the Patriot Act reauthorization on the floor for a debate beginning tomorrow. There appears to be no break in the rush by some in the…

Floor Action and Amendments Expected

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 8:30am
Today, House Members are submitting proposed amendments to the Sensenbrenner bill to the House Rules Committee. The next question on Patriot likely to be posed on the floor is whether House leadership will allow an open and fair rule for amendments to…

Flawed Specter/Feinstein Bill Headed for Committee Vote

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 4:17pm
On Wednesday, Senators Specter and Feinstein of the Judiciary Committee introduced a flawed bill to reauthorize the Patriot Act that does not really fix many of the concerns raised by nearly 400 communities across the nation (representing millions of…

Many Bills, Few Changes

By Lisa Graves, Legislative Counsel at 4:10pm
Besides the bill just introduced in the Senate Intelligence Committee, there are three other bills to reauthorize, all of which fall short of what is needed to bring the Patriot Act's far-reaching and intrusive powers in line with the Constitution: The…
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