Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stop the Renewal of the (so-called) USA PATRIOT Act

The two weeks remaining before Congress's August recess may be our last chance to stop some of the more troubling Patriot Act provisions from becoming permanent. Floor debate on H.R. 3199 may begin this Thursday in the House, followed by a full House vote. The Senate Judiciary Committe may mark up its bill S. 1389> this Thursday, July 21, with a Senate floor vote soon afterward.

Don't let Congress ignore the nonpartisan will of nearly four hundred local communities and seven states that have passed resolutions critical of the PATRIOT Act. Contact your Representative and your Senators today (telephone calls are best!) and tell them to vote against PATRIOT Act renewal and for real reform of the Act.

Thank you to everyone who contacted their House member regarding the House Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees mark-ups of H.R. 3199, USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005. The committees accepted some minor amendments, including adding new sunsets to a few sections, but more changes are needed. Furthermore, a Senate Intelligence Committee proposal to grant the FBI the power to issue "administrative subpoenas" would render any amendments to Section 215 moot.

Contact Information for Your Representative and Senators

Find phone numbers for your Representative and Senators. If one of your Senators is on the Senate Judiciary Comittee (see list at end of this message), make a special effort to call him or her.

To also send an email, go HERE, but do not rely on this method of contact alone, because staff may not read your message in time for the vote.

Suggested Talking Points

Since Congress enacted the PATRIOT Act in 2001, it has not ensured that the new powers are needed or provided sufficient oversight over their use or misuse. Two groups have suffered unfairly from the PATRIOT Act's substantially lowered standards for targets of surveillance: (1) people of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian descent; and (2) people who disagree with government policies. We now know that the FBI has invested valuable counterterrorism resources gathering information on the constitutionally protected free speech activities of the latter group.

I urge (Representative ______, Senator ________) to heed the nearly 400 communities and seven states (NOTE: Mention resolutions in the legislator's district.) that have passed resolutions calling on Congress to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution by:

restoring personal privacy and due process and respect for the rule of law;
respecting First Amendment rights and the balance of power between branches of government;
limiting the definition of "terrorism" to violent crimes perpetrated on human civilian targets for political gain;
prohibiting all authorized prisoner abuse; and
decreasing government secrecy.
Contact Information for Senate Judiciary Committee

If one of your Senators is listed below, please make a special effort to make a call or send a fax today.

ALABAMA: Jeff Sessions, Phone: (202) 224-4124, Fax: (202) 224-3149
ARIZONA: Jon Kyl, Phone: (202) 224-4521, Fax: (202) 224-2207
CALIFORNIA: Dianne Feinstein, Phone: (202) 224-3841, Fax: (202) 228-3954
DELAWARE: Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Phone: (202) 224-5042, Fax: (202) 224-0139
ILLINOIS: Richard J. Durbin, Phone: (202) 224-2152, Fax: (202) 228-0400
IOWA: Charles E. Grassley, Phone: (202) 224-3744, Fax: (202) 224-6020
KANSAS: Sam Brownback, Phone: (202) 224-6521, Fax: (202) 228-1265
MASSACHUSETTS: Edward M. Kennedy, Phone: (202) 224-4543, Fax: (202) 224-2417
NEW YORK: Charles E. Schumer, Phone: (202) 224-6542, Fax: (202) 228-3027
OHIO: Mike DeWine, Phone: (202) 224-2315, Fax: (202) 224-6519
OKLAHOMA: Tom Coburn, Phone: (202) 224 - 5754, Fax: (202) 224-6008
PENNSYLVANIA: Arlen Specter (Chairman), Phone: (202) 224-4254, Fax: (202) 228-1229
SOUTH CAROLINA: Lindsey Graham, Phone: (202) 224-5972, Fax: (202) 224-3808
TEXAS: John Cornyn, Phone: (202) 224-2934, Fax: (202) 228-2856
UTAH: Orrin G. Hatch, Phone: (202) 224-5251, Fax: (202) 224-6331
VERMONT: Patrick J. Leahy (Ranking Democratic Member), Phone: (202) 224-4242, E-mail: senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov
Herbert Kohl, Phone: (202) 224-5653, Fax: (202) 224-9787
Russell D. Feingold, Phone: (202) 224-5323, Fax: (202) 224-2725

Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Phone: 413-582-0110
Fax: 413-582-0116

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