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Alaska State Representative John Coghill News and Information

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Coghill, Guttenberg Co-Sponsor Patriot Act Resolution
Security Measures Must Not Diminish Individual Freedoms, Liberties
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Released:
May 9, 2003
J.D. Wallace
House Majority Press Secretary
465-5369 (Jan-May)

"Our intent is to send a strong, bi-partisan message to Congress that Alaskans oppose any federal action that violates the liberties guaranteed under the state and federal Constitutions."
- Rep. Coghill

 

(JUNEAU)- Two Fairbanks legislators set aside party differences on Friday as they submitted a resolution that says Congressional action to protect the nation from terrorism must not sacrifice the individual freedoms of Americans. House Majority Leader Rep. John Coghill (R-North Pole) and Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) combined their efforts on a resolution to express their concerns for the protection of civil liberties under the hastily enacted USA Patriot Act.

In less than two months after the horrific September 11 attacks, Congress passed the 342-page USA Patriot Act before many lawmakers had even read the law. Since then, many people have become concerned by several of the law's features. Increased detention and surveillance of citizens and government access to financial, medical, and even library lending records appear to sacrifice individual freedom in the name of increased security.

Earlier this session, Coghill and Guttenberg introduced individual resolutions that raised similar concerns about the Act. At a hearing earlier this week, more than two-dozen Alaskans indicated their strong support for legislative action. After the hearing, Coghill and Guttenberg merged their efforts into a single bipartisan resolution that reflects both lawmakers' concerns. The amended resolution will be introduced before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

"Our intent is to send a strong, bi-partisan message to Congress that Alaskans oppose any federal action that violates the liberties guaranteed under the state and federal Constitutions," Coghill said. "We urge Congress to reexamine the provisions of the USA Patriot Act and apply the Constitutional principles that secure the blessings of liberty and freedom."

"Americans denounce terrorism and support appropriate steps to protect the public but not at the expense of our individual liberties," Guttenberg said. "Rep. Coghill and I are proud to show bi partisan unity on this issue and urge other members of the Alaska House and Senate to join us in standing up for the Constitution and Bill of Rights."

Over the past year, almost 100 communities across the United States, including the Alaskan communities of Fairbanks, Juneau, Gustavus, and North Pole have passed resolutions expressing their concerns about the USA Patriot Act.

# # #

"Americans denounce terrorism and support appropriate steps to protect the public but not at the expense of our individual liberties."
- Rep. Guttenberg

 
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