Idaho Democrats, like State Republicans, unite against Patriot Act - State platform calls for repeal of contested sections in anti-terrorism legislation

Betsy Z. Russell
Spokesman-Review Staff writer

June 22, 2004

BOISE, IDAHO Idaho's Democratic Party, like the state's Republican Party, has added a plank to its party platform critical of the USA Patriot Act.

"It's not often we agree," said Carolyn Boyce, state Democratic Party chairwoman. "Democrats have always felt that there were just some real problems in some of those provisions."

Like the Republican plank, the Democratic platform plank approved at the state party convention over the weekend raises concerns about sections of the anti-terrorism act that impact civil liberties, but it goes a step further by calling for repeal of those sections.

"We believe that federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks, but should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion," the Democratic platform states. "We believe that certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act, rewritten FBI guidelines and numerous executive orders have eroded fundamental constitutional protections and jeopardized basic freedoms. We urge the repeal of provisions of the USA Patriot Act and other laws and regulations that infringe on civil rights and liberties."

There was little debate about the provision, mainly because it came up repeatedly at platform hearings around the state, Boyce said. So when the party put together a preliminary platform based on the hearings, the Patriot plank was among its provisions.

"I didn't hear anybody stand up in opposition to that plank," Boyce said. "I think amongst Democrats there are pretty strong feelings."

At the state party convention in Pocatello, many hours went into debates on the detailed wording of other platform provisions dealing with such hot-button issues as abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the environment.

"Democrats in the last few years have been sort of divided on a lot of things," Boyce said. "I saw a very united convention. I saw the union people, all the groups coming together. I've read that it's happening nationwide Democrats are really coming together. They want Bush out of there."

She added, "Even the things that we disagreed on at the end of the convention everybody just came together with a goal to go out and work to get rid of George Bush."

Idaho, which voted 67.2 percent for Bush in 2000, is dominated by Republicans, who hold 78 percent of the seats in the state Legislature, all but one of the statewide elected offices and all four seats in the congressional delegation.



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