Coalition asks CA State
Legislature for Anti-Patriot Act Resolution
Fremont, CA: The California Civil Rights
Alliance (CCRA) is in contact with several high-ranking state
legislators to reintroduce SJR 22 - California’s statewide
pro-civil rights resolution.
On Monday the 17th of December the CCRA met with state Senator
Liz Figueroa's staff in Fremont, California.
meeting highlighted Senator Figueroa's recent support for
the resolution and ways to launch
it in the 2005 legislative session. Legislative Aide, Jeff
Barbosa mediated the discussion. CCRA member groups including
both the Green and Libertarian Party of California, the Alameda
Peace and Justice group, and the American Muslim Alliance
all joined in the discussion.
CCRA is a statewide coalition of 25 organizations, and was
the major force behind the initial circulation of SJR 22 in
the last legislative session.
SJR 22 is similar to resolutions passed by nearly 370 cities
and counties throughout the country, as well as 4 states,
since the passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. It states
that the State of California affirms its commitment that the
campaign not be waged at the expense of essential civil rights
and liberties of citizens of this country contained in the
United States Constitution and the Bills of Rights.
Furthermore it urges the California Congressional delegates
to actively work to repeal any provision of the USA PATRIOT
Act that limit or impinge on rights and liberties protected
by the United States and California Constitution.
In the last legislative session, Senator John Burton, arguably
the second most influential figure in Sacramento after Governor
Schwarzenegger, introduced the resolution with principal co-authors
Senator Byron Sher and Republican Assembly Member Ray Haynes.
Unfortunately, the resolution died in committee in the adverse
climate of the 2004 presidential elections. The CCRA has now
resurrected the resolution, and is fully engaged in negotiations
with high-ranking legislators, many of whom have already agreed
to coauthor the reintroduced resolution.
In their recent meeting, the CCRA, together with Senator Figueroa
and her staff, explored the current political dynamics, the
history of SJR 22, and what steps need to be taken to push
such a statewide resolution in the current session.
Passage of such a resolution, by California the largest in
the union, could contribute considerable momentum in the overall
campaign to repeal the unconstitutional nature of much of
the USA Patriot Act, prevent the passage of even worse legislation-
such as the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act (dubbed
Patriot II), and place the issue of civil rights squarely
at the center of new political stage.
CCRA is planning to hold a “lobby your legislator”
day in Sacramento in next few weeks. Both Democrats and Republicans
will be approached by their own constituents and requested
to support this historic resolution.
Civil Right activists expect 2005 to become a year of national
debate on civil liberties. The year starts with the confirmation
hearings for Alberto Gonzales- as head of the Department of
Justice in January, and a number of upcoming hearings on clauses
of the USA PATRIOT ACT, which are set to sunset at end of
2005. Such an environment is ideal for placing a resolution,
which expresses the unwavering voices of Californians to defend
civil liberties for all Americans.
This effort, said a CCRA representative, “requires organizations
and individuals to invite and encourage their legislators
to support and even coauthor SJR 22, and form local coalitions
with likeminded Californians from all backgrounds and parties”.