RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE PRINCIPLES OF FEDERALISM AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council believes there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty, and affirms its strong support of the rights of Americans to be both safe and free; and
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council recognizes the Constitution of the United States as our nation’s charter of liberty, and that the Bill of Rights enshrines the fundamental and inalienable rights of America, including the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, privacy; and
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council has a distinguished record of upholding the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and safeguarding the freedoms and rights of American residents; and
WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, terrorists from abroad attacked the U.S. by commandeering four commercial airliners, and destroyed the World Trade Center in New York, significantly damaged the Pentagon, and caused a jetliner crash resulting in significant civilian casualties; and
WHEREAS, the terrorist attack was an attack on a nation that is home to a diverse population and plunged the nation into deep concern regarding its national security and vulnerability to future attacks; and
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council condemns all terrorist acts wherever occurring; and
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council believes that efforts to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism require extensive coordination, cooperation, and accountability among the federal, state, and local level; and
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council recognizes that protecting our citizens against future terrorist attacks requires the federal government to aggressively pursue potential terrorists but these efforts to combat terrorism should not disproportionately infringe on the essential civil rights and liberties of the people of the U.S.; and
WHEREAS, the prevention of future terrorists attacks is a critical national priority, but it is equally important to preserve the fundamental civil liberties and personal freedoms embodied in the Bill of Rights over 200 years ago, and which have been preserved through a constant vigilance against periodic threats to its principles; and
WHEREAS, in response to the terrorist attacks, on October 26, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, the USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,” by a Senate vote of 98-1 and House of Representative vote of 357-66; and
WHEREAS, Section 1002(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Act states “”Congress . . . declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans . . . should be protected””;
WHEREAS, the Boone Town Council believes that a number of provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act threaten fundamental rights and civil liberties, including:
Section 213 which permits law enforcement to perform searches with no one present and to delay notification of the search of a citizen’s home;
Section 215 which permits the FBI Director to seek records from bookstores and libraries including books of patrons based on minimal evidence of wrongdoing and prohibits librarians and bookstore employees from disclosing the fact that they have been ordered to produce such documents;
Section 218 which amends the “”probable cause”” requirement before conducting secret searches or surveillance to obtain evidence of a crime;
Sections 215, 218, 358, and 508 which permit law enforcement authorities to have broad access to sensitive mental health, library, business, financial, and educational records despite the existence of previously adopted state and federal laws which were intended to strengthen the protection of these types of records;
Sections 411 and 412 which give the Secretary of State broad powers to designate domestic groups as “”terrorist organizations”” and the Attorney General power to subject immigrants to indefinite detention or deportation even if no crime has been committed; and
Sections 507 and 508 which impose an unfunded mandate on state and local public universities who must collect information on students that may be of interest to the Attorney General.
WHEREAS, municipal governments’ budgets across the nation are strained and these added duties constitute unfunded mandates on cities’ police departments, libraries, universities, etc. that cities cannot financially absorb; and
WHEREAS, there is current consideration to make the USA PATRIOT Act permanent law and to expand it through new laws which strengthen law enforcement and intelligence gathering powers, many of which are not related to terrorism, and which would severely dilute, if not undermine, many basic constitutional rights; and
WHEREAS, in response to the threats against civil liberties embodied in certain provisions of the PATRIOT ACT, legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that would roll back certain provisions of the PATRIOT ACT.
WHEREAS, a national, bi-partisan coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union, American Library Association, Free Congress Foundation, and Gun Owners of American already supports passing new legislation (such as the Security and Freedom Ensured Act) to modify the unnecessary and threatening portions of the USA PATRIOT Act;
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Library Association passed a resolution in April 2003 to “”exempt libraries and booksellers from the most onerous provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act”” so that North Carolina citizens can read freely without fear, a resolution supported in a letter written in January 2004 by the Watauga County Library Board;
WHEREAS, the Appalachian State University Faculty Senate passed a resolution in December 2003 supporting academic freedoms and civil liberties (“”Resolution Academic Freedoms and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution””);
WHEREAS, the Student Government Association of Appalachian State University passed a resolution in November 2003 encouraging the Boone Town Council to pass a resolution protecting Town residents’ civil rights and liberties (“”Resolution of Support of Boone’s Adoption of the Proposed Town Resolution Affirming Civil Rights””);
WHEREAS, 317 towns and counties and 4 states, representing 51 million Americans, have already passed resolutions reaffirming their commitment to civil rights and liberties and against the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that unnecessarily threaten them, including New York City and Washington, D.C., the two cities that suffered the worst of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001;
WHEREAS, the National League of Cities, the oldest and largest national organization for American cities, which serves as a resource and advocate for 18,000 cities, towns, villages and 225 million Americans, passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to civil rights and liberties and against the provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT that unnecessarily threaten them;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council supports the U.S. campaign against terrorism, but the Boone Town Council affirms its commitment to the U.S. Constitution and liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of North Carolina; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council urges the President, and executive branch members to review, revise and rescind executive orders and policies adopted since the terrorist attacks, that limit or compromise the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council strongly urges the U.S. Congress to amend the PATRIOT ACT in order to restore and protect our nation’s fundamental and inalienable rights and liberties; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council supports the “Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003″” that would reinstate legal standards for libraries and bookstores and the “”Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act”” which would require a court order before conducting electronic surveillance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council supports the sunset of key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and increased Congressional oversight over the role of the agencies responsible for enforcing the law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Boone Town Council calls on Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, and other related agencies to partner with cities to protect our hometowns while simultaneously preserving the liberties of Americans; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the U.S. President, the Attorney General of the United States, to each member of Congress, and to appropriate members of the NC General Assembly.
Adopted this the 29th day of June, 2004.
Loretta Clawson, Mayor Pro-Tem
Freida Van Allen, Town Clerk
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