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As early as late today or tomorrow, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to introduce in the U.S. House of Representatives an amendment to the House Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill to cut off funds for library and bookstore searches under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The amendment to the CJS Appropriations Bill, which funds the Justice Department, is co-sponsored by two Republicans -- Rep. Butch Otter (ID) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX)-- and two Democrats -- Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) and Rep. Tom Udall (NM).
"Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act is part of a dangerous erosion of our Constitutional rights that, little by little, is making us a less free nation," said Congressman Sanders. "American citizens across the political spectrum have made it very clear that they do not want the government monitoring their reading habits when they walk into a library or bookstore. We can protect our nation from terrorism without letting Uncle Sam read over our collective shoulders."
For more information about the Freedom to Read Amendment and the Campaign for Reader Privacy, go to the Bookweb/American Booksellers Association website.With the crucial vote appearing imminent, the American Booksellers Association urges you to ask your Representative to support the Sanders-Otter-Conyers-Paul-Nadler-Udall Freedom to Read Amendment.
There's no time to lose: If you haven't done so yet, please e-mail, fax, or call your Representative as soon as possible and tell him or her that Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act threatens free speech for all Americans and that you want him or her to vote "YES" on the Freedom to Read Amendment.
Section 215 amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to vastly expand the power of the FBI to secretly search the bookstore, library, medical, and other personal records of anyone it believes may have information relevant to a foreign intelligence investigation, including people who are not suspected of committing a crime.
ABA strongly recommends that you make calls to your representative's Washington and district offices. Contact information is easily available through the House of Representatives website, House of Representatives website.
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