Community Resolution for Plattsburgh, NY

Document Date: June 1, 2004


RESOLVED. That the Common Council of the City of Plattsburgh endorses the findings and actions requested of the President of the United States, the members of his administration and the Congress as set forth in National League of Cities Resolution number 2004-37 and directs that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the U.S. President, the U.S. Attorney General, and to each member of New York’s Congressional delegation; further

RESOLVED: That a copy of National League of Cities Resolution number 2004-37 be made a part of the minutes of this meeting.

RESOLUTION # 2004-37


WHEREAS, the National League of Cities (NLC) 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, NLC 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, NLC 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, NLC condemns all terrorist acts wherever occurring; and

WHEREAS, NLC 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, NLC 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, NLC 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 citizen92s 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 93probable cause94 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 93terrorist organizations94 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 government 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, new legislation has been drafted entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA) (also known as PATRIOT II) which contains numerous new sweeping 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.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that NLC supports the U.S. campaign against terrorism, but NLC affirms its commitment to the U.S. Constitution and respective state constitutions, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC 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 NLC strongly urges the U.S. Congress to amend the PATRIOT ACT in order to restore and protect our nation92s fundamental and inalienable rights and liberties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC supports the 93Freedom to Read Protection Act of 200394 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 NLC supports the sunset of key provisions of the PATRIOT Act and increased Congressional oversight over the role of the agencies responsible for enforcing the law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NLC 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 U.S. Attorney General, and to each member of Congress.

Related Issues