State takes stand against Patriot Act

Island lawmakers have made Hawaii the first state to take a stand against the controversial USA Patriot Act, passing a resolution “reaffirming the state of Hawaii’s commitment to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.” Citing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Hawai`i state legislature is now sending Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 to Hawaii’s representatives in Washington.


So far, 92 cities and counties have passed resolutions condemning the Patriot Act, according to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, but Hawaii’s is the first at the state level. The Democrat-controlled House and Senate voted 35-12 and 21-3, respectively.

“The residents of Hawaii during World War II experienced first hand the dangers of unbalanced pursuit of security without appropriate checks and balances for the protection of basic liberties,” the resolution states. “The State of Hawaii urges its Congressional delegation to work to repeal any sections of the USA Patriot Act or recent executive orders that limit or violate fundamental rights and liberties protected by the Constitutions of Hawaii and the United States.”

Critics of the resolution blasted their colleagues for taking an obvious political jab at the Bush administration. In an interview with the Star-Bulletin, Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings called the resolution “overtly political and very transparent.”

“I don’t think the people in the World Trade Center are too concerned about the civil rights of the illegal aliens who dove those planes into those buildings,” Hemmings said. “We are at war.”

But Rep. Kika Bukowski of Maui, a Republican, supported the resolution, saying supports Bush but worries that the government is chipping away at the freedoms it is ostensibly at war to protect.

“States have every right to consider the concerns of the federal government and voice our opinions,” said Rep. Roy Takumi, who introduced the bill in the House. “If a number of states begin to pass similar resolutions, then it raises the bar for Congress, making them realize our concerns.”

“I hope to see what we’ve done here plays a role in mobilizing people to take action,” he said.

The resolution also pledges that, to the extent possible, the state will not direct resources toward potentially unconstitutional activities enumerated in the Patriot Act, including:

  1. Monitoring political and religious gatherings exercising their First Amendment Rights;
  2. Obtaining library records, bookstore records, and website activities without proper authorization and without notification;
  3. Issuing subpoenas through the United States Attorney’s Office without a court’s approval or knowledge;
  4. Requesting nonconsensual releases of student and faculty records from public schools and institutions of higher learning; and
  5. Eavesdropping on confidential communications between lawyers and their clients.

Just last week, Judith Krug — who has served as director of the American Library Association‘s Office for Intellectual Freedom since it was founded in 1968 — was in the islands, and urged island librarians to develop privacy policies to protect both library users and employees. For example, discarding the name of a book’s borrower after the book is returned.

Hawai`i and Kentucky have long stood out as the only states that do not have statutes specifically protecting library records. They do, however, have Attorney General opinions recognizing the confidentiality of library records.

The Patriot Act and the state resolution are the topic of Town Square this afternoon on Hawai`i Public Radio, 89.3FM. The 5 p.m. program will also be broadcasted on the web.

13 thoughts on “State takes stand against Patriot Act

  1. What does Hawaii know of the bill of rights? Hawaiian hypocrites pick and choose which laws are politically agreeable to them. I would remind Hawaiians that the 2nd amendment is part of our constitution; yet infringing on your fellow citizens RIGHTS to keep and bear arms is no problem in your small minds. The second amendment is interpreted very narrowly, while at the same time the first amendment is given such latitude that pornography is defined as free speech, and criminals and illegal aliens have more rights as law abiding citizens. The right to privacy (where is that in the bill of rights?) is invented for the sake of abortionists, and that’s ok to the hula crowd. They just want to get laid anyway.

    Give those illegal aliens driver’s licenses, welfare, free health care and indoctrination in our public schools. Don’t even ask their citizenship status, we don’t want to make them cry and feel bad about themselves. Whatever you do don’t profile people! When airplanes fly into buildings, chances are, it’s not anyone you know anyway. Besides, you can always find a way to blame republicans!

  2. Mike – you seem so hateful toward Hawai’i-did it rain on your last trip here?

    Between your sophomoric name-calling and your conflated rant which lacks premise, it is difficult for me to educate you here in this limited amount of space. So let me point out the obvious:

    (1) Yes, the 2nd Amendment is narrow, where it circumscribes all citizens from unconditionally owning firearms. Familiarize yourself with the actual text: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Our forbearers specifically wrote that the right to bare arms has its nexus with Militias, and not just any Militia, but a regulated Militia. Hence, they did not envision a bunch of yahoos shooting off guns in the wilderness or at their neighbors. Yes, the Supremes have eviscerated the Militia connection in their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment; still, they are quite comfortable with heavy regulation. In other words, feel lucky that the Supreme Court has allowed you to bare arms irrespective of what is proscribed by the Constitution.

    (2) Civil liberties on the other hand, is the cornerstone and foundation of the Constitution, not to be meddled with by government servants who are blips on the history and future of our Nation. I’m assuming that the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness are as important to you as they are to me. As such, I hope we can agree that we do not want the gov’t traipsing roughshod over our rights (be they Libertarians, Whigs, Greens, or what have you).

    (3) Read closely, Mike, the Patriot Act is not only for the “illegal immigrant” you so fear (which, I would remind you, your forbearers were, unless Great Grandpa or Grandma Mike belonged to one of various communities of Native American). The provisions of the Patriot Act applies to all US citizens and its provisions mentioned in the article, supra, erode not only the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights, but also the 4th (right to be secure in one’s person against unreasonable searches and seizures), 5th (right to not to be a witness against one self), and 6th (right to trial, speedy justice, impartial jury, etc.), and perhaps others as well.

    (4) During WWII, American citizens, who happened to be Japanese, were interned. I encourage you to broaden your understanding of history; upon doing so, you will be surprised to note that the rhetorical racism of War has remained the same in the US since…well…for the history of War. The State of Hawaii’s commendable step here is merely to preserve what our forbearers set down in the Bill of Rights and to prevent another shameful chapter in American history.

    (5) Finally, I have friends and family in DC, NY, and Pennsylvania. As a person from Hawai’i, I am gravely concerned about their wellbeing. However, I yearn for a sensible, less drastic solution to our country’s current predicament. Your accusation that Hawai’i has no connection to the crisis at hand is libelous or ignorant.

    I hope that peace, liberty, intelligence, and prosperity find you and awaken you from your sour disposition.

  3. Hawaii takes stand against Patriot Act

    “Island lawmakers have made Hawaii the first state to take a stand against the controversial USA Patriot Act, passing a resolution “reaffirming the state of Hawaii’s commitment to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.” Citing the internment of Japane…

  4. Aloha.

    A sincere thank you to Bob Rees who put the people and the legislators on notice about this issue, to the law makers of Hawai’i who passed the resolution and to the BORDC who carried the torch of liberty for me and many others to see.

    An enlightened and courageous stand for liberty and human rights has been definitively made. May it continue with energy, inguinity and heart.

    Mahalo to one and all,

    Roger
    Hilo

    THC
    The Hawai’i Cannabis Ministry
    “We use cannabis religiously and you can, too.”

  5. I’m glad to read this story about Hawaii’s Bill of Rights Protection resolution. Hopefully the current crisis with the attacks on the Bill of Rights by the Bush Administration (which is merely the intensification of a long series of attacks on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by many administrations and by local governments nationwide) will get many more Americans to re-acquiaint themselves with the Constitution in its entirety and with the philosopies of the founders of this country so that they can appreciate the great wisdom possessed by this country’s founders and see that life would be so much better in so many ways if we would return to that original plan and philosophy of government. One good example of this is the monetary system. The Constitution specified that the Congress was to coin the money and regulate the value thereof. The intention here was to take the creation of money out of the hands of private banks, so that the carrying on of normal day to day economic activity would not require both the governments and the people to go ever further into debt to the banks, with the eventual result that the owners of the banks would own and control all the property of the nation as well as have total control of the government. This wise provision of the Constitution has been ignored, so that now our money is created and loaned out for profit by private banks, with the inevitable result that debt always exceeds the money supply, so that carrying on of normal economic activity requires a continual expansion of debt, with a heavy level of bankruptcies, so that the people have to spend more and more of their working time working just to service their debts, and ownership of all the country’s assets as well as control of its government is becoming ever more concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people. Going back to the constitutionally-mandated money system wherein Congress coins the money and regulates its value would alleviate tremendous amounts of economic hardship and promote far less concentration of political power in a very few hands. Woodrow Wilson said, after he signed the act which did away with our constitutional money system, “I have betrayed my country, from now on we will not have government by free expression of popular opinion but by a small group of dominant men.” Another major problem in this country today is the domination of all business by a small number of corporations. I have recently been finding out that in the early days of the United States, the laws were written to prevent such domination of the economy by a few corporations. Creating a corporation required a special act of Congress, the corporate charter was only good for 20 years after which time it had to be renewed by Congress to continue the existence of that corporation; think of how much more free enterprise we would enjoy if such policies had been continued, think of how much more creativity there would be in the business world and how much more equitably the wealth would be distributed if such policies had been continued. Another issue brought up by an earlier commentator is the 2nd Amendment. If you familiarize yourself with the writings of the country’s founders, you will find it is clear that they intended no infringements on the right of the people to own firearms. Now the Media have done a good job of propagandizing the people to think that this is a very dangerous idea, that there are lunatics everywhere wanting to go on a rampage and kill people with guns, and criminals with guns are portrayed continuously on television, so that a large portion of the population believe that this propagandistic picture painted by the Media is in fact reality. I certainly used to think so, and was very nervous about the idea of gun ownership amongst my neighbors, until I stopped paying attention to television and started paying attention to reality. I live in a medium-sized midwestern city, and I started noticing that, here I was, surrounded by hundreds of neighbors with guns, and I had never seen a single one of them do anything criminal with their guns, and the most irresponsible thing I had ever seen a gun-owning neighbor do was to walk in front of his pistol when it was lying on the table, so that if by some remote chance it had accidentally gone off he might have been shot. And I noticed that the only men with guns who had ever harrassed or threatened me were the police. So I noticed that this scary picture the Media paint, that gun ownership amongst the common people is a huge danger to everyone’s life and safety, is simply nonsense with no relation to reality at all. That’s when I started changing my mind about the 2nd Amendment,and seeing that it deserves our full support along with the others in the Bill of Rights. Since then I have learned that a number of careful objective studies have been conducted by authors like John Lott and others, showing that in fact gun control laws increase crime rather than make us safer. The news has come that crime rates in England have skyrocketed since the gun bans there. And in America, nearly all the crime with guns is in the big cities where the laws prohibit all the citizens from having guns. So the old bumper sticker appears to be right, when the guns are outlawed, only outlaws have the guns. You would hope that the opponents of the 2nd Amendment would pay some attention to reality instead of endlessly repeating their false belief that gun control reduces crime, but they never seem to do so. So- I repeat, I hope that the current concern for protecting the Bill of Rights in the wake of the Bush Administration’s attack on it will induce many more Americans to study the Constitution and the philosophies of the nation’s founders and become more able to appreciate the great American heritage that we once had but have now all but lost.

  6. I’m glad to read this story about Hawaii’s Bill of Rights Protection resolution. Hopefully the current crisis with the attacks on the Bill of Rights by the Bush Administration (which is merely the intensification of a long series of attacks on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by many administrations and by local governments nationwide) will get many more Americans to re-acquiaint themselves with the Constitution in its entirety and with the philosopies of the founders of this country so that they can appreciate the great wisdom possessed by this country’s founders and see that life would be so much better in so many ways if we would return to that original plan and philosophy of government. One good example of this is the monetary system. The Constitution specified that the Congress was to coin the money and regulate the value thereof. The intention here was to take the creation of money out of the hands of private banks, so that the carrying on of normal day to day economic activity would not require both the governments and the people to go ever further into debt to the banks, with the eventual result that the owners of the banks would own and control all the property of the nation as well as have total control of the government. This wise provision of the Constitution has been ignored, so that now our money is created and loaned out for profit by private banks, with the inevitable result that debt always exceeds the money supply, so that carrying on of normal economic activity requires a continual expansion of debt, with a heavy level of bankruptcies, so that the people have to spend more and more of their working time working just to service their debts, and ownership of all the country’s assets as well as control of its government is becoming ever more concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people. Going back to the constitutionally-mandated money system wherein Congress coins the money and regulates its value would alleviate tremendous amounts of economic hardship and promote far less concentration of political power in a very few hands. Woodrow Wilson said, after he signed the act which did away with our constitutional money system, “I have betrayed my country, from now on we will not have government by free expression of popular opinion but by a small group of dominant men.” Another major problem in this country today is the domination of all business by a small number of corporations. I have recently been finding out that in the early days of the United States, the laws were written to prevent such domination of the economy by a few corporations. Creating a corporation required a special act of Congress, the corporate charter was only good for 20 years after which time it had to be renewed by Congress to continue the existence of that corporation; think of how much more free enterprise we would enjoy if such policies had been continued, think of how much more creativity there would be in the business world and how much more equitably the wealth would be distributed if such policies had been continued. Another issue brought up by an earlier commentator is the 2nd Amendment. If you familiarize yourself with the writings of the country’s founders, you will find it is clear that they intended no infringements on the right of the people to own firearms. Now the Media have done a good job of propagandizing the people to think that this is a very dangerous idea, that there are lunatics everywhere wanting to go on a rampage and kill people with guns, and criminals with guns are portrayed continuously on television, so that a large portion of the population believe that this propagandistic picture painted by the Media is in fact reality. I certainly used to think so, and was very nervous about the idea of gun ownership amongst my neighbors, until I stopped paying attention to television and started paying attention to reality. I live in a medium-sized midwestern city, and I started noticing that, here I was, surrounded by hundreds of neighbors with guns, and I had never seen a single one of them do anything criminal with their guns, and the most irresponsible thing I had ever seen a gun-owning neighbor do was to walk in front of his pistol when it was lying on the table, so that if by some remote chance it had accidentally gone off he might have been shot. And I noticed that the only men with guns who had ever harrassed or threatened me were the police. So I noticed that this scary picture the Media paint, that gun ownership amongst the common people is a huge danger to everyone’s life and safety, is simply nonsense with no relation to reality at all. That’s when I started changing my mind about the 2nd Amendment,and seeing that it deserves our full support along with the others in the Bill of Rights. Since then I have learned that a number of careful objective studies have been conducted by authors like John Lott and others, showing that in fact gun control laws increase crime rather than make us safer. The news has come that crime rates in England have skyrocketed since the gun bans there. And in America, nearly all the crime with guns is in the big cities where the laws prohibit all the citizens from having guns. So the old bumper sticker appears to be right, when the guns are outlawed, only outlaws have the guns. You would hope that the opponents of the 2nd Amendment would pay some attention to reality instead of endlessly repeating their false belief that gun control reduces crime, but they never seem to do so. So- I repeat, I hope that the current concern for protecting the Bill of Rights in the wake of the Bush Administration’s attack on it will induce many more Americans to study the Constitution and the philosophies of the nation’s founders and become more able to appreciate the great American heritage that we once had but have now all but lost.

  7. Goodonya HAWAII , MR. Bush seems intent on doing an A.Hitler, Reichstag burned by the communists so we need to curtail the rights of all citizens and be able to put all the ones we suspect(i.e. the ones that probably won’t vote for me) in some sort of holding place like Auswitz or Camp X-ray until I’m re-elected on the fear,paranoia, zenophobia, racist ticket. If sensible people remain silent the strident voice of the mis-informed and ignorant will prevail. Incidentally our Prime Minister is known here as “the bonsai Bush” ,and it is feared that soon we will also have to fight against our own version of the Patriot Act. Keep up the good work, all the best.

  8. I voted for Bush in 2000. It was my first foray into the electoral process, and of the only two candidates the slanted media would showcase, he seemed the best. His early months in the White House were ho hum at best, with the exception of the incident where one of our spy planes crashed in China and the political back and forth ensued. Then, 9/11 occured and he seemed to prove to me why I’d voted for him. He’d gotten a lot of flack for various gaffs, but at that moment, when we needed him, he was strong and together.
    But now, amid rumors that he knew of a possible attack the previous summer and ignored it, as well as his overzelous response to them, such as the creation of an unnecessary Department of Homeland Security and the steamroller passage of the Patriot Acts I and II (Of which I as a tax paying citizen was never once asked for permission or even consideration)I can’t help but
    wonder what the president’s true agenda is.
    The worst part of everything that’s going on, is it’s going on right under our noses but most people feel content to argue along party lines. Democrats blame Republicans for the crackdown on our civil liberties while Republicans bash Democrats for ‘not wanting a safer America’ A realitiy check: BOTH parties, in my mind, are just as responsible for the dilution of our rights and the future horrorshows to come. The Republicans, because they supported the acts unflinchingly and the Democrats because they have done very little beside snip and gripe to prevent the passage.
    I must applaud Hawai’i’s sense of right and wrong, a fading notion among most of the lower 48 states, and hope that others step up and reassert their strength under the constitution.

  9. Thanks for letting us know about Hawaii’s stand against the loss of personal liberties. I moved here because it is as far away from Washington DC as I can get. I am vice-chair of NORML OAHU. Please send me any alerts you have, so I can direct them to our members. Ruth

  10. This is a great example of the people fighting back for the freedoms the govornment is slowly stripping in the name of national security. “When people surrender freedom for security, they deserve neither and afford both” – Benjamin Franklin

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