Senator Leahy Introduces Bill To Amend Patriot Act

September 22, 2009 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today introduced legislation to amend sections of the Patriot Act that are due to expire on December 31 and limit the controversial and problematic library records and national security letter provisions of the Act.

Today’s proposed legislation comes on the heels of an alternative bill introduced last week by Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Judiciary Committee member Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) also aimed at fixing the Patriot Act. That bill, the JUSTICE Act, would not only amend the provisions beyond the three that are set to expire this year, but would insert privacy and civil liberties safeguards into each section of the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendments Act and other overly broad surveillance laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union testified about the Patriot Act today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its own hearing on Wednesday.

The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Any attempt to narrow the scope of the Patriot Act should be commended, and Senator Leahy deserves credit for taking that action. We look forward to working with the committee to incorporate into legislation some of the more comprehensive reforms in the JUSTICE Act. Time is of the essence given the upcoming expiration date for key Patriot Act provisions, and Congress should act quickly to engage in meaningful debate and enact serious reform.”

For more information on the ACLU’s work on the Patriot Act, go to:

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