On Wednesday, Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John E. Sununu (R-NH) held a press conference to emphasize their support for the Senate version of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent in July. In the coming days, Senate and House conferees will be meeting to reconcile the very different House and Senate versions of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bills.
At the press conference, the Senators also announced that they intend to make every effort, including the use of procedural options, to protect the civil liberties of all Americans and to fight any conference report that strips out the meaningful changes to the Patriot Act made in the Senate bill.
With the conferee meetings expected to begin soon, the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) sponsors -- the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association, and PEN American Center -- continue to urge supporters to contact conferees to ask them to push for Senate bill, S. 1389, which provides more stringent safeguards to reader privacy than its House counterpart. The Senate legislation restricts bookstore and library searches under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to the records of people who are suspected terrorists or people who are in contact with them.
Senate conferees are Arlen Specter (R-PA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Michael DeWine (R-OH), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Carl Levin (D-MI). (Contact information is available on the Senate website.) House conferees have not as yet been named.
For more about CRP and the Patriot Act, go to www.bookweb.org/read/7679.