ACLU Applauds Colorado's Call to Be Safe and Free; Nationwide Patriot Act Resolution Movement Still Gaining Momentum

May 17, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the state of Colorado for passing a bipartisan resolution calling on Congress to bring the controversial Patriot Act in line with the Constitution. Colorado becomes the seventh state, and joins at least 382 other communities that have passed such resolutions. A similar resolution recently passed the Idaho state legislature.

“Nationwide, millions of Americans live in communities that have stood up and demanded that Congress bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution,” said Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy and a native Coloradoan. “Today, the citizens of the Centennial State join other concerned Americans from across the country who are rightly concerned about the rising use of ‘sneak and peek’ searches, the overly broad reach of the Act, and the expanded power to obtain virtually unchecked secret orders to search our library, medical and financial records.”

The Colorado state senate passed the resolution by a vote of 32 to 2. The House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 39 to 29.

The Colorado resolution follows similar statewide measures in Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana and Idaho. Several other state legislatures are considering comparable measures. Most urge Congress to revisit the Patriot Act, the 2001 anti-terrorism law passed in haste only a few weeks after the attacks of 9/11, and try to prevent local authorities from engaging in racial profiling and other civil liberties abuses.

Specifically, the Colorado resolution calls on Congress to amend Patriot Act powers that “infringe on civil rights and liberties” and to oppose “the enactment of future federal legislation that infringes on civil rights and liberties.” The ACLU has called on Congress to enact the Safe Act, a bipartisan measure that would make carefully calibrated changes to the Patriot Act to bring it back in line with the Constitution.

The Colorado resolution puts the tally of communities that have passed such resolutions at 383, encompassing almost 61 million Americans in 43 states. The list is diverse, encompassing large cities like New York and Los Angeles, and small towns like Castle Valley, Utah. The political makeup of the movement is also quite mixed, with many conservative-led resolutions reflecting the broad right-wing libertarian discontent with the Bush administration’s civil liberties policies.

“Congress is now reviewing the Patriot Act, examining how to ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need while protecting our fundamental civil liberties,” Graves said. “We already know that the Patriot Act has been abused and misused, and that some secret search powers are being used to investigate American citizens who have absolutely no connection to terrorism at all. Critics from across the political spectrum, from the ACLU to the American Conservative Union, join Colorado and the nearly 60 million Americans who have demanded that we both safe and free.”

To read the text of the Colorado resolution, go to:
/cpredirect/17544

More information about the resolutions movement is online at:
/resolutions

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