Idaho County takes aim at Patriot Act
The Spokesman Review
BOISE _ The Idaho County Commission has taken the first reported official action in the state to rein in controversial federal legislation known as the USA Patriot Act.
The measure passed Monday 2-1, with freshmen Republicans Pat Holmberg and Alice Mattson voting opposite long-term Republican Commissioner George Enneking.
While the commission may be the first government in Idaho to take a vote on the issue, the resolution has little practical effect.
"It's just a reaffirmation of the oath we took for office," said Holmberg.
Drafted by the Watchmen on the Wall, an organization that promotes a strict and literal interpretation of the Constitution, the Idaho County ordinance does not mention the Patriot Act by name. The one-page resolution says:
"The Bill of Rights and the Constitution for these United States of America, which is the supreme law of the land, shall be upheld and enforced within the boundaries of Idaho County; repugnant acts, ordinances or regulations of government in clear contravention notwithstanding."
Enneking said he does not oppose the ordinance itself. However, he believes it is redundant since elected officials have already sworn the oath, the Lewiston Morning Tribune reported in its Tuesday edition.
Holmberg said the Idaho County prosecutor's office is working on stronger legislation that would express support for members of Idaho's congressional delegation who work against the Patriot Act.
The Boise City Council was scheduled to take up a similar resolution Tuesday evening. The municipal measure, also a scaled-back, largely symbolic gesture, replaced one considered earlier that would have blocked some types of cooperation between local police and federal authorities.
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