November 17, 2005 | By Kevin Bankston

PATRIOT Update: Civil Liberties Concerns Have Stalled the Bill, For Now

Thanks to everyone who called Congress yesterday to voice opposition to the draft PATRIOT renewal bill, which we expect a vote on soon. It looks like our voices were heard--the Associated Press is reporting that because of civil liberties concerns, the draft conference report was *not* filed last night as expected, and won't be hitting the House floor today. Instead, based on the objections of civil liberties groups and opposition by a bipartisan group of Senators, the contents of the final conference report are still being fought over.

We still expect the conference to file it's official report shortly, and a vote is still likely before the end of the week--but hopefully, if we keep the pressure on, the next version of the bill will be an improvement over the draft we saw yesterday. So, if you still haven't let your Senators and Representative know how you feel about renewal of the PATRIOT Act, do it now!

UPDATE: We've gotten the latest and presumably final draft of the conference report (in three parts: one, two, three). Unfortunately, it's essentially the same as yesterday's, with no new major reforms added. Current word from the grapevine is that the House is still shooting for a vote tomorrow, with a Senate vote possible on Saturday. So let's keep the pressure on--call Congress and tell them to vote "no"!


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