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Local resolutions support reform

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August 17, 2005

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) works in local communities to defend civil rights and liberties. In a recent announcement, the BORDC highlights the nationwide effort to get local, county, and state governments to pass resolutions opposing enforcement of the Patriot Act.

Congress’s recent vote on the USA PATRIOT Act shows that the nearly 400 community resolutions opposing parts of the Act have had a discernable impact. The 171 House members who opposed H.R. 3199, the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005, represented 301 communities with resolutions, whereas the 257 members who supported the bill represented 85 communities with resolutions.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), which tracks the resolutions and which analyzed the vote results, also looked at the House votes on a motion to recommit the bill, which preceded the vote on H.R. 3199. The motion included instructions to reinstate four-year sunsets for the 16 provisions set to expire at the end of 2005. A total of 312 resolutions had passed in the districts of the 209 who voted in favor of the motion, compared to 74 resolutions in the districts of the 218 who voted against it.
PATRIOT Act resolutions affect Congressional votes

While the BORDC is trying to show a causal relationship between local resolutions and representatives voting against the Patriot Act, there’s probably also the effect of elected officials sharing the values of their constituents in the first place. Either way, I’m quite proud to say that the Town Council of my hometown (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) is among the 393 elected bodies who have passed such resolutions. And accordingly, our member of congress voted against reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

How did your representative vote?