Monday, July 26, 2004

Patriot Act Amendment Update

From The Campaign for Reader Privacy:

Congressional Opposition to PATRIOT Act Searches Is Growing Opponents of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act fought a major battle in the House of Representatives on July 8 when Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill that funds the Justice Department barring the department from using any of the money to search bookstore and library records under Section 215. Sanders has been unable to persuade House leaders to hold a hearing on his Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157), which exempts bookstores and libraries from searches under Section 215. Although the effort failed on a tie vote--210 to 210--supporters of the amendment were encouraged to discover that we had the support of half of the House. At one point, it even appeared that we would win. But Republican leaders held the vote open until they could persuade a handful of representatives to switch their votes. During the two weeks since the House vote, support for amending Section 215 has clearly grown. There were many press reports about the vote as well as numerous editorials criticizing the Republican leaders for high-handed tactics in defeating the amendment. Five Congress members have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1157, raising the total to 150.
The Reader Privacy website has links help you contact your congressperson and a link so you can see how your congressperson voted.