RESOLUTION CALLING UPON FEDERAL ELECTED AND APPOINTED
OFFICILAS TO AFFIRM AND UHPOLD CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL
LIBERTIES GURANTEED UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.
Resolution for Town Board Meeting Dated: September 14, 2004
The following resolution was offered by: Supervisor Petrone and seconded by: Susan Berland
WHEREAS, the protection of civil rights and civil liberties is essential to the well being of a free and democratic society, and the members of the Town Board of Huntington believe that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty, that Americans can be both safe and free; and
WHEREAS, federal, as well as state and local, government must protect the public from terrorist attack, but should do so in a manner that enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights; and
WHEREAS, certain federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including certain provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and related executive orders, regulations and actions, pose a threat to fundamental rights and liberties of the residents of our town by:
(a) authorizing the indefinite incarceration of individuals without access to meaningful federal judicial oversight;
(b) expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct so-called ""sneak and peek"" searches, in which the subject of the search warrant is unaware that his property has been searched;
(c) granting law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to personal medical, financial, library and education records, with little, if any judicial oversight;
(d) chilling constitutionally protected speech;
WHEREAS, along with prior law, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, has given FBI agents power to obtain any information upon request from any business without suspicion of criminal wrongdoing or terrorist activity, without judicial oversight or checks and balances, in potential violation of a person's constitutional rights; and
WHEREAS, Huntington would join four states and more than three hundred communities throughout the country have enacted resolutions that reaffirm support for civil rights and civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, this resolution is not an action pursuant to 6 NYCRR §617.2(b) and therefore no SEQRA review is required.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE TOWN BOARD affirms its commitment to uphold civil rights and civil liberties, and therefore expresses its opposition to:
(a) investigation and surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment, without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment;
(b) the collection or maintenance of information unless there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject is or may be involved in criminal conduct;
(c) racial, religious or ethnic profiling;
(d) ""sneak and peek"" searches, pursuant to Section 213 of the Patriot Act; and
(e) the broadened use of National Security Letters, which deny judicial oversight, hinder our American system of checks and balances and provide an undue burden on businesses;
(f) the loose and broad definition provided in the Patriot Act, which could encompass acts by legitimate and lawful protest groups; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Town Board opposes the unregulated system of Computer Identification Programs (CIPs) created by Section 326 of the PATRIOT Act which requires most business to install and utilize CIPs, without suspicion of terrorism or wrongdoing and without judicial review, hindering businesses and violating the constitutional rights of their employees and customers; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Town Board calls upon United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and United States Congressman Steve Israel to monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act and related federal actions, to actively work for the repeal of those sections of the USA PATRIOT Act and related federal actions that unduly infringe upon the U.S. Constitution and to actively pursue the passage of legislation which aids in both the protection of civil liberties and rights and the prevention of terrorism such as the Security and Freedom Ensured Act of 2003 (SAFE) Act, and be it further;
RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk is hereby directed to forward certified copies of this resolution to each of Huntington's aforementioned federal representatives and to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush.
VOTE: AYES: NOES: ABSTENTIONS:
Supervisor Frank P. Petrone: Aye
Councilwoman Susan A. Berland: Aye
Councilwoman Marlene L. Budd: Abstain
Councilman Mark A. Capodanno: No
Councilman Mark A. Cuthbertson: Aye
THE RESOLUTION WAS THEREUPON DECLARED DULY ADOPTED.