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Montana Legislature to Issue Strong Rebuke of Patriot Act

News Standard | April 4 2005

Apr 4 - A Montana state resolution highly critical of the Patriot Act came one step closer to authorization Friday as legislators in the state’s House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved the measure 88 to 12. The resolution cleared the state Senate on a 40 to 10 vote earlier this year.

While it carries less weight than law, the measure calls on the state to destroy information gathered under the controversial act if it is not directly related to criminal investigations, discourages state law enforcement agencies from cooperating in investigations that violate Montanans’ rights under state and federal constitutional law, and asks libraries to inform patrons that their library records are not safe from federal investigation.

Additionally, the legislation requests that the Attorney General’s office investigate how the law has been used against citizens of the state, including the number of Montanans arrested under the act and how often "sneak-and-peek" warrants have been used against the state’s citizens.

According to state legislative rules, the Senate and House must still pass a final version of the resolution before it becomes official.