The resolution proposed for Bethlehem included the following main points:
1. Lists the most important threats under the USA PATRIOT Act and related measures—to increase public awareness;
2. Affirms the city’s commitment to civil rights and civil liberties;
3. Directs employees (including police officers) to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all persons in Bethlehem and to avoid any action that violates people’s Constitutional rights;
4. Requests libraries and other institutions to caution patrons — provide clear notice that federal agents have the power to get records and any other “tangible things “, and that employees are not permitted to inform individuals whose records are obtained;
5. Requests schools to display the Bill of Rights in classrooms and to review with students the importance of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties to a democratic society;
The resolution also directs the City Clerk to request information from federal authorities about any enforcement actions in Bethlehem and to send copies of the resolution to the executive and legislative officials who represent this area at the federal, state, and county levels.
Note: The actual resolution includes greater detail on these points and also includes other material.
June 14, 2004 – Statement regarding Bethlehem City Council pulling resolution off the agenda
June 15, 2004 – Key Elements of the proposed resolution
June 16, 2004 – Statement on Council’s plan to protect people by doing nothing