Cities Pass Resolutions in Opposition to the Patriot Act

Article excerpt

Since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in October 2001, more than 2,000 communities across the country have responded by passing resolutions expressing their concern over the act that eases restrictions on the government's ability to access personal information about citizens and non-citizens.

More than 380 cities--in addition to seven states--have passed resolutions declaring that their communities will uphold the constitutional rights of their citizens.

The resolutions often affirm the defense of civil liberties, provide information to library patrons regarding the use of their personal records or reaffirm a commitment to anti-discrimination practices.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee is an organization that provides support and technical assistance to communities interested in using a resolution to engage in a non-partisan debate over civil liberties.

Although the resolutions do not directly affect the federal government's actions, a growing number of cities are actively demonstrating their concerns about protecting citizens" constitutional rights.

The National League of Cities has its own "Resolution Affirming the Principles of Federalism and Civil Liberties" and is available at www.nlc.org under Advocating for Cities and National Municipal Policy.

These descriptions show how cities are using local resolutions to oppose aspects of the Patriot Act. All were selected from NLC's Examples of Programs for Cities collection.

The full text of each of the resolutions is available on the Bill of Rights Defense Committee web site at www.bordc.org.

Dallas, Texas Population: 1,188,580 Year Passed: 2004

The Dallas resolution affirms support of the U.S. government in its campaign against terrorism, but also reaffirms the city's commitment that such a campaign not be waged at the expense of civil rights.

The resolution passed on February 25, 2004, and calls upon the city council to petition Texas representatives of the U.S. Senate and House to urge them to monitor the implementation of federal anti-terrorism measures. …