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Hundreds Of Cities Say 
No To Patriot Act 
By Kim Zetter 
Wired News

Forget drug-free and nuclear-free zones. A growing grassroots movement seeks 
to make the United States a Patriot Act-free zone, one city at a time.   Or, 
at the very least, the people behind the movement hope to make their cities 
constitutional safe zones.   In the past two years, more than 300 cities and four 
states have passed resolutions calling on Congress to repeal or change parts 
of the USA Patriot Act that, activists say, violate constitutional rights such 
as free speech and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  

 Barring that, the resolutions declare that their communities will uphold the 
constitutional rights of their residents should federal law enforcement 
agents come knocking on the door of local authorities for assistance in tracking 
residents.  This means local authorities will insist on complying with federal 
orders only in ways that do not violate constitutional rights. The resolutions 
are not binding, however, and do not affect the federal government\'s actions.  
 The national movement was launched in 2001 by the Bill of Rights Defense 
Committee, an organization led by activist Nancy Talanian. Talanian first lobbied 
her community -- Northhampton, Massachusetts, a town of 30,000 people -- to 
stand against the act in November 2001, when few people had heard about the 

 Talanian and fellow activists urged newspaper editors to write about the 
legislation and hosted a public forum attended by 400 people, including 
Northampton\'s mayor and chief of police. Word spread quickly to other communities, four 
of which passed their own resolutions before Northampton passed its 
declaration the following May.   Two years later, 322 municipalities and four states -- 
Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont -- have Patriot Act resolutions.   

Congress passed the USA Patriot Act swiftly in October 2001, 45 days after 
the Sept. 11 attacks, easing restrictions on the government\'s ability to dig up 
personal information about citizens and non-citizens, and obtain wiretaps and 
search warrants. Only one senator, Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), and 61 House 
of Representative members voted against the legislation.   Under the act, 
federal investigators can obtain individuals\' library, financial, health and 
education records from cities while barring municipal workers from letting anyone 
know authorities have seized the documents. Officials can also monitor the 
activities of people who have not been identified as suspects and search a home or 
office without prior notice. ......

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