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Archive for Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Group to call on city to oppose Patriot Act

April 23, 2003

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More than 90 cities nationwide have passed resolutions condemning the federal Patriot Act; now, some residents want Lawrence to be the next.

The Lawrence Bill of Rights Defense Committee, formerly the Patriot Act Resolution Committee, will meet at 7 p.m. today in the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., to propose a city resolution against the Patriot Act.

"It's more of an educational forum for the general public," said Clark Coan, a committee member.

A committee member and an attorney will both speak at the meeting, then the meeting will be open for questions.

Coan said the committee's proposal is not as strict as that of the city of Arcata, Calif., which recently became the first city to pass an ordinance outlawing voluntary compliance with the Patriot Act.

The committee's resolution draft supports the bill of rights, asks Congress to repeal the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, asks the Police Department not to cooperate with the federal government in implementing these acts, and opposes the proposed Patriot Act II.

Coan said the committee hopes to bring a resolution proposal before the City Commission in June.

The committee was working closely with the Douglas County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, but then branched out on its own. Mary Davidson, chapter president, said the group put out a leaflet that was "a little too wild," calling the government oppressive and terroristic.

"We agree that the government is oppressive, but we will not call it terroristic," Davidson said.

Davidson said the Douglas County ACLU would continue to adopt a more moderate stance.

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