California State Legislature Asks Congress to Fix the Patriot Act; Restore Checks and Balances

February 17, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — In yet another appeal for commonsense reforms to the Patriot Act, the state of California on Thursday passed a bipartisan resolution calling on Congress to revisit the controversial legislation and make the changes necessary to bring it in line with the Constitution. On Thursday the Senate voted 96-3 against changes urged by Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), paving the way for renewal of the act before its expiration on March 10. The Senate is expected to renew the act without making the most needed changes to protect freedom and privacy, after passing a bill that would make a few changes to the conference report passed by the House last December.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

“California joins millions of Americans in a national call to be safe and free. The passage of this latest statewide resolution highlights a clear and mounting resistance to the unsettling and unconstitutional expansion of law enforcement and executive branch power. Americans are no longer willing to forsake their constitutional rights in the name of sweeping and ill-designed legislation. We applaud the citizens and lawmakers of California for taking this admirable step towards true Patriot Act reform. The Patriot Act debate is far from over, and we will continue to fight for reforms to protect civil liberties.

“Americans have spoken out against the Patriot Act time and time again. Members of Congress must listen to the citizens they represent and answer the call to amend the Patriot Act. Congress must not rush reauthorization when Americans from across the country are demanding real change. It is imperative that our efforts to maintain our nation’s most sacred ideals and liberties be as robust as our efforts to combat the threat of terrorism.”

To read more about the ACLU’s concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:

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