Friday, October 29, 2010


Just as a reminder of how even a conservative local government can support progressive principles when they hold those principles in common with progressives--and to get it into our electronic archive--I thought I'd reproduce the resolution drafted by HCIN, and unanimously adopted in 2005 by the Hampshire County Commission, expressing their concern about the USA Patriot Act. - MH

Resolution of the Hampshire County Commission
Regarding Civil Liberty and the USA PATRIOT Act

WHEREAS Hampshire County, West Virginia, is proud of its long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil rights and liberties of its residents;

WHEREAS the preservation of civil rights and liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society;

WHEREAS federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, but should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion to ensure that any new security measure enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties;

WHEREAS government security measures that undermine fundamental rights do damage to the American institutions and values that the residents of Hampshire County hold dear;

WHEREAS the potential for excessive restriction of civil liberties by the United States government gives reason for a renewed reflection upon the founding principles of the United States of America and the State of West Virginia;

WHEREAS the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, Article I, Section 3, asserts:
“The provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, are operative alike in a period of war as in time of peace, and any departure therefrom, or violation thereof, under plea of necessity, or any other plea, is subversive of good government, and tends to anarchy and despotism”;

WHEREAS on April 9, 2005, the West Virginia State Senate passed SR 46, co-sponsored by Senator Clark Barnes, urging the United States Congress to review provisions in the federal PATRIOT Act;

WHEREAS the Hampshire County Commission believes that the prevention of future terrorist attacks is a critical national priority, but it is also important to preserve the fundamental civil liberties and personal freedoms which were enshrined in the Bill of Rights over 200 years ago;

WHEREAS many other communities throughout the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these values, and demanding accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding their use of these new powers;

THEREFORE be it resolved that the Hampshire County Commission:

AFFIRMS its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on civil liberties.

DIRECTS the Hampshire County Sheriff to report to the Hampshire County Commission any request by federal authorities that, if granted, would cause agencies of Hampshire County to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of any county ordinance or the laws or Constitution of this State or the United States;

DIRECTS public libraries within Hampshire County to post in a prominent place within the library a notice to library users as follows: “WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), records of the books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. That federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530 ”;

DIRECTS the Clerk of the Hampshire County Commission to transmit a copy of this resolution to Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, and Representatives Shelley Moore Capito, Nick Rahall and Alan Mollahan, accompanied by a letter urging them to:
-- oppose federal legislation to the extent that it infringes on civil rights and liberties;
-- support Congressional efforts to assess the impacts of the PATRIOT Act;
-- monitor federal anti-terrorism tactics and work to repeal provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT and other laws and regulations that deprive citizens of liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights;
-- ensure that provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act "sunset" in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

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