"If we sacrifice our freedom, we let terrorism win."
- Rep. Coghill
(JUNEAU)- The Alaska House of Representatives approved House Joint Resolution 22 by a vote of 32 to one on Monday. In a bipartisan effort to protect the American way of life, House Majority Leader Rep. John Coghill (R-North Pole) and Rep. David Guttenberg (D Fairbanks) combined their efforts on the resolution that expresses their concerns on how the USA Patriot Act addresses individual liberties.
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.
HJR 22 states that the Alaska State Legislature supports the United States government in its campaign against terrorism; however, it also opposes any part of the USA Patriot Act that would violate the rights and liberties guaranteed equally to all U.S. citizens under the state and federal constitutions. The resolution also forbids any state agency from information gathering that is not warranted by a criminal investigation. HJR 22 also reiterates the state's opposition to racial profiling of any sort.
"The bipartisan support that this resolution received in the House illustrates the importance that Alaskans place on protecting our liberties without compromising our security," Guttenberg said. "We hope for similar support in the Senate."
"We hope that a resolution like this, with the bipartisan support that it has, will urge Congress to reexamine the provisions of the USA Patriot Act that challenge the individual freedoms that make this country great," Coghill said. "If we sacrifice our freedom, we let terrorism win."
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"The bipartisan support that this resolution received in the House illustrates the importance that Alaskans place on protecting our liberties without compromising our security."