Alaska Passes Toughest Anti-Patriot Act Law

Alaska has joined Hawaii and 112 other cities and towns across the nation in passing a resolution opposing the Patriot Act.

Alaska's measure goes further than most, advising police and other state agencies not to "initiate, participate in, or assist or cooperate with an inquiry, investigation, surveillance or detention" if there is not "reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under Alaska State law."

"We have a concern that [the Patriot Act] could be abused. The potential for abuse is too great," said Rep. David Guttenberg, a Democrat who co-sponsored the resolution. "America is an open state. There's a cost to that. Where are we willing to sacrifice for that? Guys are dying on the battlefield to protect our freedoms. It's up to us to protect those freedoms here at home."

The ACLU also reports on Alaska's tough stance.

This resolution affirms the motto of Alaska, ‘North to the Future,’” said Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the AkCLU. “As a state, we have always led the Lower 48 in respecting and ensuring the individual rights of our residents under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This exceptionally strong resolution reflects our dedication to civil liberties and our deep-seated belief that Alaska – and America – can be both safe and free.”

The Alaska resolution was bipartisan and passed in the House with a vote of 37 to 1. On May 20 it passed the Senate with a vote of 19 to 0.

The Alaska resolution explicitly prohibits state agencies from engaging in racial profiling and prohibits the use of state resources or institutions for the enforcement of federal immigration matters. It also bars state agencies from creating intelligence dossiers on the political, religious and social views of individuals and organizations, unless the information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities.

Further, in the absence of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under Alaska state law, it prohibits participation in investigations, detentions and surveillance as well as seizure of personal library, medical, financial, student and sales records, even when authorized by the PATRIOT Act. Additionally, the resolution calls upon the Alaskan Congressional delegation to work to correct sections of the USA PATRIOT Act and other measures that unduly restrict personal freedoms.

You can read the text of the resolution here. [Thanks to Manish of Damn Foreigner for tipping us to the news and link]

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