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Pending Legislation concerning the USA PATRIOT Act

109th Congress

Legislation to Limit Powers Granted by the PATRIOT Act

Freedom to Read Protection Act, H.R. 1157
Sponsor: Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 114 co-sponsors as of 4/8/05
Introduced: March 8, 2005

The "Freedom to Read Protection Act," would require the FBI to show some type of reasonable cause whenever the FBI applies for a FISA court order to investigate library patrons and bookstore customers, not the lower standard created by the USA PATRIOT Act. HR 1157 also calls for public reporting to determine how provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act are being implemented in order to better assess civil liberties implications. (Rep. Sanders previously sponsored the Freedom to Read Protection Act in the 108th Congress.)

The Security and Freedom Enhanced Act (SAFE), S. 737
Sponsors: Senators Larry Craig (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Russell Feingold (D-WI)
Introduced: April 6, 2005

Current co-sponsors: Bingaman (D-NM); Cantwell (D-WA); Corzine (D-NJ); Kerry (D-MA); Murkowski (R-AK); Obama (D-IL); Salazar (D-CO); Sununu (R-NH).

The SAFE Act seeks to reinstate privacy protections for library users and places limits on roving wiretaps and sneak-and-peek searches. (Senators Craig and Durbin previously sponsored the SAFE Act in the 108th Congress.)

The Security and Freedom Ensured Act, H.R. 1526
Sponsors: Representative C. L. Otter (R-ID)
Introduced: April 6, 2005

Co-sponsors: Bishop (R-UT); Conyers (D-MI); Flake (R-AZ); Kucinich (D-OH); Meeks (D-NY); Paul (R-TX); Sanders (I-VT); Simpson (R-ID); Udall (D-NM).

Amends the USA PATRIOT ACT to place reasonable limitations on the use of surveillance and the issuance of search warrants. Amends sneak & peek, Section 215, John Doe roving tap authority, and the definition of domestic terrorism to include appropriate checks & balances; and also sunsets additional provisions of the PATRIOT Act in 2005. (Rep. Otter previously sponsored the SAFE Act in the 108th Congress.)

Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act, S. 317
Sponsor: Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Introduced: February 8, 2005

Co-Sponsors: Akaka (D-HI); Bingaman (D-NM); Cantwell (D-WA); Corzine (D-NJ); Dayton (D-MN); Durbin (D-IL); Jeffords (I-VT); Kennedy (D-MA); Leahy (D-VT]; Wyden (D-OR).

Amends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act by requiring the FBI to set forth specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe that the person whose records are sought is a suspected terrorist or spy, and requiring the FISA court to make a finding that the application meets the individualized suspicion requirement. The bill also imposes similar requirements on National Security Letters and enhances the Attorney General's duty to report to Congress on the DOJ's use of FISA. (Senator Feingold previously sponsored the Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act in the 108th Congress.)

Legislation To Expand Powers Under the PATRIOT Act

There is no pending legislation to directly expand the powers given to law enforcement and the federal government under the USA PATRIOT Act. Current legislative action supporting the PATRIOT Act is directed at renewing those provisions of the PATRIOT Act due to sunset on December 31, 2005.

ALA is also concerned about the following legislation that may adversely impact library users' privacy and civil liberties:

REAL ID Act, H.R. 418
Introduced: January 26, 2005
Sponsor: Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and 140 co-sponsors.

Passed the House February 10, 2005. Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, February 17, 2005.

The legislation would require people applying for, or seeking renewal of, state- issued driver's licenses and ID cards to prove their "lawful presence" in the United States. Among its provisions are mandates requiring states to move to standardized machine-readable driver's licenses and personal identification cards. At least 10 states currently issue ID cards to people in the country illegally. Under Sensenbrenner's bill, licenses from those states could not easily be used as identification for federal purposes, such as at airports. License holders might be asked for further proof of their lawful presence before their state-issued identification would be accepted by federal officials.

American Library Association
Office for Intellectual Freedom
April 2005

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