Minnesota House of Representatives
Contact: Melissa Parker
April 19, 2005
LEGISLATORS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION SEEKING PROTECTION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES
SAINT PAUL—Today at the Capitol, state legislators announced introduction of a resolution opposing those parts of the USA Patriot Act and other associated orders that threaten our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
In a news conference at the State Capitol this morning, Senator Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul) and Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) said the resolution, which was introduced into the Senate as SR65 and into the house as HR10, is meant to send a clear message to Congress and the President that Minnesotans do not believe it is necessary to compromise constitutional guarantees in order to engage in effective counter-terrorism activities.
Specifically, the resolution seeks revision or repeal of controversial provisions enacted after the attacks of September 11, 2001, such as the broad search and seizure provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act; Title II of the Homeland Security Act which allows federal government officials to probe into all aspects of the private lives of citizens and non-citizens, without a search warrant, and without proof of criminal wrongdoing; and the “enemy combatant" policy of indefinite detention without charges.
Senator Anderson said, “While we in Minnesota are concerned about taking appropriate steps to secure our nation against terrorist attack, we are also concerned that, in the push to counter terrorism, long-standing traditions of liberty and principles of constitutional law are being challenged.”
Representative Hornstein noted that introduction of the resolution is particularly appropriate at this time.
“Many of the most controversial search and seizure provisions of the PATRIOT Act expire at the end of 2005," said Hornstein. "Congress is holding hearings now to determine whether some or all of these provisions should be renewed, be revised to ensure protection of civil liberties, or simply be allowed to sunset.”
Isaac Kaufman, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said, “More than 370 U.S. cities and counties, including St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth and Robbinsdale in Minnesota, have passed resolutions like the one just introduced here. If the resolution Senator Anderson and Representative Hornstein have introduced passes in the House and Senate, it will make Minnesota the sixth state in the nation to pass such a resolution.”
The Minnesota Bill of Rights Defense Committee is a group of Minnesota citizens concerned with preserving civil liberties and constitutional protections. Most of its members have participated in efforts to pass Bill of Rights Defense resolutions in their local communities and have joined forces to work toward passage of a Bill of Rights Defense Resolution at the state level.
To learn more about the Minnesota Bill of Rights Defense Committee and its work, or to learn more about the constitutional challenges posed by the USA PATRIOT Act, visit www.mn-billofrights.org, or call 612-305-1232.