Community Resolution for Lincoln, NE

September 13, 2004

RESOLUTION NO. A- 82965

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 DEFENSE OF LIBERTY RESOLUTION

   A Resolution calling upon federal, state and local officials, and upon Lincoln agencies and Institutions, to affirm and uphold civil rights and civil liberties.

Whereas, the protection of civil rights and civil liberties is essential to the well-being of a free and democratic society; and

Whereas, the men and women in the United State Armed Forces are bravely serving around the world defending our freedoms; and

Whereas, the members of the Lincoln City Council believe that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty -- Americans can be both safe and free; and

Whereas, government security measures that undermine fundamental rights do damage to the American institutions and values that the residents of the City of Lincoln hold dear; and

Whereas, federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks, such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, but should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion in order to ensure that security measures is enhance public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties; and

Whereas, certain federal policies adopted since September 11,2001, including certain provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56) and related federal actions unduly infringe upon fundamental rights and liberties; and

Whereas, these new policies include granting law enforcement and
intelligence agencies broad access to personal medical, business, library and education records with little if any judicial oversight; limitations on the traditional authority of federal courts to curb law enforcement abuses of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism investigations and ordinary criminal investigations; the power to authorize the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion of terrorist activity without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts; the expansion of the authority of federal agents to conduct so-called ""sneak and peek"" or ""black bag"" searches, in which the subject of the search warrant is unaware that his property has been searched; and

Whereas, the City of Lincoln has a diverse population, including
immigrants and students, whose contributions to the city are vital to its economy, culture and civic character; and

Whereas, these new policies may undermine trust between immigrant communities and the government, and in particular, pose a threat to the civil rights and liberties of the residents of our city who are or who appear to be Arab, Muslim or of South Asian descent; and

Whereas, the federal government has drafted new legislation entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA) (also known as PATRIOT II), which may further compromise constitutional rights and our government's unique system of checks and balances; and

Whereas, four states, more than 340 communities throughout the country, and the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska have enacted resolutions that reaffirm support for civil rights and civil liberties and demand accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding the exercise of the extraordinary new powers referred to herein.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska:
  
 1. That the Lincoln City Council affirms its commitment to uphold civil rights and civil liberties as recognized in the United States Constitution and its Amendments.
 

2. That the Lincoln City Council calls upon federal, state and local officials, and upon Lincoln agencies and institutions, to affirm and protect civil rights and civil liberties.

3. That the Lincoln City Council affirms its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes racial, religious or ethnic profiling, or any measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based primarily upon their country of origin.

4. That the Lincoln City Council opposes requests by federal authorities that, if granted, would cause agencies of the City of Lincoln to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of any city ordinance or the laws or Constitution of this State or the United States.

5. That the Lincoln City Council urges each of the City's public libraries to inform library patrons that Sections 215 and 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act give the government expanded authority to monitor book-borrowing and Internet activities without patrons' knowledge or consent and that this law prohibits library staff from informing patrons if federal agents have requested patrons' library records.

6. That in order to assess the effect of antiterrorism initiatives on the residents of the City of Lincoln, the Lincoln City Council calls upon federal officials to make periodic reports, consistent with the Freedom of Information Act, that include:
  (a) the number of Lincoln residents who have been arrested or
 24 otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001;
  (b) the number of search warrants that have been executed in the City of Lincoln without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  (c) the number of electronic surveillance actions carried out in 2 the City of Lincoln under powers granted in the USA PATRIOT Act;
  (d) the number of investigations undertaken by federal authorities to monitor political meetings, religious gatherings or other activities protected by the First Amendment within the City of Lincoln;
  (e) the number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in the City of Lincoln under section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  (f) the number of times library records or records of books purchased by store patrons in bookstores have been obtained in the City of Lincoln under section 215 or 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act; and
  (g) the number of times business or medical records have been obtained from businesses or health care providers within the City of Lincoln under section 215 or 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

7. That the Lincoln City Council gives voice to the concerns of Lincoln residents by supporting efforts consistent with this resolution to change those sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that unduly infringe upon fundamental rights and liberties as recognized in the United States Constitution and its Amendments.
 
ADOPTED
 SEP 13 2004 ______________________________________

BY CITY COUNCIL

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