"Relating to the USA PATRIOT Act and to the peace and security of citizens of our country."
"This resolution calls our leaders to caution with regard to this Patriot Act and urges them to apply the Constitutional principles that are meant to "secure the blessings of liberty" and not to erode the public confidence in our government through abuses of power."
- Rep. Coghill
The USA Patriot Act Resolution creates new crimes, new penalties, and new procedural efficiencies for use against domestic terrorists. The open question is, "can we maintain our liberty while expanding government powers in combating terrorism?"
The Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and The Alaska State Constitution all in unison make up our form of government and describe the limitation of governmental powers while protecting individual liberties.
Each generation has the charge to know and protect this most honorable form of government structure while enjoying the freedoms it affords. We must be ever vigilant in self-government and cautious of a government that would rule rather than serve us, a free people.
The events of 9-11 jolted the American people and propelled us to action. President Bush said these events "woke a sleeping giant" and started the "war on terrorism" aimed at defending the principles of freedom while insuring the safety of Americans.
I fear that many measures of homeland security instituted in the Patriot Act take a direct shot at the very foundations of our society. The need to search for criminals may give way to violations of our civil protections under the Bill of Rights. The powers of government under this Patriot Act cause me grave concern as they expand the government powers to inspect a free persons movement, personal accounts, communications or personal affects with a very low level of due process.
James Madison, at the Virginia convention to ratify the Constitution said "There are more instances in the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
HJR 23 calls our leaders to caution with regard to this Patriot Act and urges them to apply the Constitutional principles that are meant to "secure the blessings of liberty" and not to erode the public confidence in our government through abuses of power.
HJR 23 includes the preamble to our Constitution and a quote from Benjamin Franklin that tie liberty to national defense and demonstrates that our national security was also an issue of concern 230 years ago when our Constitution was written.
HJR 23 voices the Alaska State Legislatures support in the campaign against terrorism. It affirms its commitment to the foundational institutions that protect our freedom and liberty.