URGING THE U.S. CONGRESS TO REVIEW PROVISIONS OF THE PATRIOT ACT WHICH GIVE FEDERAL AGENCIES INCREASED SURVEILLANCE AND PROSECUTORIAL POWERS AT THE EXPENSE OF
BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
By Messrs. Collins, Reilly, Frederick, Monjeau, Gordon, Dawson, Clay, Steck, Infante, Mayo, Cunningham, Joyce, Aylward, Nichols, Beston, Mss. Connoly, Maffia-Tobler, McKnight, Willingham, Wi]ey, Messrs. Domalweicz and Riddick:
WHEREAS, The U.S. Patriot Act was conceived and approved hastily in a climate of national mourning and fear following the September terrorist attacks, allowing insufficient time for debate or deliberation of the strengthened security measures the Act sought to achieve, and
WHEREAS, The Patriot Act altered more than 15 different statutes and a number of legal scholars and organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, contend that many of the statutory changes and related Presidential executive orders, regulations and actions to identify and track potential terrorists have compromised the civil liberties and fundamental constitutional rights of Americans and non-citizen residents, and
WHEREAS, More than 300 local governments and three states have added their voices in opposition to provisions of the Patriot Act which are a potential threat to the civil rights of the residents of their communities, and
WHEREAS, Among the more troubling provisions are the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion and of citizens designated by the President as “”enemy combatants”” who are denied access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts; limits on the authority federal courts to curb law enforcement abuse of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism and ordinary criminal investigations; broad access to personal medical, financial, library and education records with little if any judicial oversight, and expanded federal authority to conduct searches of property of unaware subjects, and
WHEREAS, The Act further creates a new crime of “”domestic terrorism”” defined so broadly that it could be applied to a number of legitimate acts of civil disobedience and constitutionally protected speech, and
WHEREAS, The President has asked Congress to extend provisions of the Patriot Act expiring at the end of 2005 and has drafted new legislation referred to as Patriot II which contains sweeping new law enforcement and intelligence gathering powers and reduces government accountability, now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Albany County Legislature calls upon the United States Congress to review the U.S. Patriot Act and the proposed Patriot Act II to eliminate provisions that unduly infringe upon fundamental rights and liberties as recognized in the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, and, be it further
RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Legislature is directed to forward certified copies of this resolution to United States Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and to Congressman Michael McNulty and to the appropriate County Officials.
On roll call vote the following voted in favor: Messrs, Aylward,
Beston, Clay, Collins, Commisso, Ms. Connolly, Messrs. Cunningham, Dawson, Domalewicz, Ethier, Feeney, Frederick, Gordon, Houghtaling, Infante, Joyce, Ms. Maffia-Tobler, Messrs. Mayo, McCo,y, Ms. McKnight, Messrs. Monjeau, Morse, Nichols, Reilly, Riddick, Shafer, Steck, Ward, Mss. Wiley and Willingham – 31
Those opposed: Mss. Barlette, Benedict, Mr. Clouse, Mss. Comella, Prentiss and Mr. Tunny – 6
Resolution was adopted 6/14/04
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