Friday, November 11, 2005

Patriot Act Amendment Dropped from Spending Bill

ALA Patriot Act Amendment Dropped from Spending Bill

House and Senate negotiators dropped language from a $57.9-billion Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill November 4 that would have restricted searches of library and bookstore records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

In June, the House of Representatives approved Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) Freedom to Read Amendment, which would have barred the DOJ from using any of the funds to search library and bookstore records. President Bush had threatened to veto the bill if the final version contained any language that would weaken the Patriot Act.

Meanwhile, conferees from both chambers met November 10 to begin reconciling differences in House and Senate bills reauthorizing the Patriot Act.

The Washington Post reported November 10 that a tentative deal worked out earlier would likely favor the Senate’s more restrictive version; in addition, both versions would add some degree of judicial review for national security letters. The issue of NSLs is central to a pending legal challenge involving a Connecticut library and the USA Patriot Act.

Posted November 11, 2005.

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