Resolution from Bangor, Maine

Document Date: May 10, 2004


Resolve, Outlining Concerns Regarding the USA Patriot Act

WHEREAS, the City of Bangor believes that there is a tension 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, we recognize 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 and privacy, and

WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, terrorists from abroad attacked the U.S. by commandeering four commercial airlines, destroying the World Trade Center in New York, significantly damaging the Pentagon, and causing a jetliner crash, all of which resulted in significant 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 security and vulnerability to future attacks; and

WHEREAS, the City of Bangor, in concert with all free peoples everywhere, condemns all terrorist acts wherever they occur; and

WHEREAS, efforts to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism require extensive coordination, cooperation, and accountability among federal, state, and local governments; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that protecting our citizens against future terrorist attacks requires the federal government to aggressively pursue potential terrorists; however, the effort to combat terrorist must not disproportionately infringe on the essential civil rights and liberties of the people of the United States; and

WHEREAS, in response to the terrorist attacks, on October 26, 2001, the United States Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the USA PATRIOT Act by a Senate vote of 98-1 and House of Representatives vote of 357-66; and

WHEREAS, we applaud those sections of this Act that eliminate unnecessary barriers to the sharing of intelligence information and that modernize elements of the law to take into account the technical revolution in telecommunications; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that legislation adopted in the heat of crisis may not have received the level of scrutiny, public input, and thoughtful consideration necessary when balancing security and civil liberties; and

WHEREAS, new legislation has been drafted entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA, also known as PATRIOT Act II) that contains numerous new law enforcement and intelligence gathering powers, and Congress must closely review these proposals to insure that a careful balance is struck between protection of the public, and civil liberties; and

WHEREAS, in response to the civil liberties issues raised by certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that would roll back certain provisions of the act; and

WHEREAS, our national government is built upon the fundamental principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism, and these principles must be honored as the PATRIOT Act and the DSEA Act is reviewed by Congress in light of the need to protect the common good and safety; and

WHEREAS, the strongest protection of our civil liberties is present when the Presidency, the Congress and the Courts are Accorded their historic roles in counterbalancing powers and assuring that the powers of each branch of government are not abused.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BANGOR that we hereby support the support the U.S. campaign against terrorism while affirming our commitment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge 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 to insure that the appropriate checks and balances are in place while maintaining the essential role of the Congress and Courts and insuring the defense of our country and the protection of our people.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support increased and diligent Congressional, Judicial, and Executive oversight over the roles and actions of the agencies and individuals responsible for enforcing and using this law.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call 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.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of his resolution be forwarded to the members of the Maine Congressional Delegation, the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and the Governor of the State of Maine.

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