Des Moines Adopts Anti-Patriot Act Resolution

Affiliate: ACLU of Iowa
July 27, 2004 12:00 am

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Iowa’s Largest City Becomes Second Community in the State to Adopt Pro-Civil Liberties Stance


DES MOINES – The Iowa Civil Liberties Union today applauded the passage of a pro-civil liberties resolution by the Des Moines City Council last night, which urges the federal government to remove unconstitutional aspects of the Patriot Act and affirms the city’s commitment to defending national security without sacrificing fundamental civil rights and freedoms. The action made Iowa’s capital city the 342nd local government in the nation to adopt an anti-Patriot Act resolution.

“We are thrilled the city’s leaders recognize that the people of Des Moines deserve to be both safe and free,” said Ben Stone, Executive Director of the ICLU, which lobbied heavily for the resolution. “The so-called Patriot Act has several provisions that are deeply troubling to both liberals and conservatives alike, and the Council recognized that.”

Since the Patriot Act was passed in October 2001, four states and 338 cities and towns have adopted anti-Patriot Act resolutions. Des Moines’ move brings the number of people represented by bodies passing such resolutions to over 53 million.

Ames became the first community in Iowa to pass such a resolution in March, and in 2003, the Iowa City Council submitted a letter to members of Congress raising specific concerns about the use of the Patriot Act. The city council in Lincoln, Nebraska is poised to discuss a resolution in August.

In declaring his support for the resolution, Council member Tom Vlassis said that he had received 30 communications supporting the resolution for every one that opposed it. Along with Vlassis, Council members Michael Kiernam and Archie Brooks and Mayor Frank Cownie also supported the resolution. Council members Christine Hensley, Chris Coleman and Bob Mehaffey opposed it.

In an attempt to counter the growing widespread opposition, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a public campaign in August 2003 to promote the Patriot Act. However, the ACLU noted that the number of communities adopting anti-Patriot Act resolutions has more than doubled since the Justice Department began its campaign.

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