Action Needed Now on USA Patriot Act

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the USA PATRIOT ACT is due to sunset this year and we need Congress to make much needed reforms.

The Senate has introduced a bill that does not meet the protections we seek, so we need the House to pass much tougher reforms. The ALA Washington Office reports that there is much opposition to these reforms, including from the White House, the Department of Justice and the House Intelligence Committee, so Congress needs calls NOW from library supporters and others.

PLEASE call Congressman Welch’s office to EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT for H.R. 3845 introduced by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and ASK CONGRESSMAN WELCH TO CO-SPONSOR this USA Patriot Amendment Act. Call NOW. Bill mark-up is scheduled for November 4.

Congressman Peter Welch (Washington Office): Phone: (202) 225-4115

To access the bill text for H.R. 3845, please click here:|/bss/111search.html


  • Pass H.R. 3845 to protect reader privacy and other First Amendment activities in libraries and bookstores;
  • Reform Section 215 and national security letters so that a higher legal standard is required to obtain these types of orders;
  • Ensure and maintain the legal right to challenge gag orders and require judicial review and reassessment to continue such gag orders;
  • Continue the required audits and public reports so that Congress and the public can assess the impact of these laws; and
  • Maintain the sunsets so that there can be regular Congressional and public oversight.


Three PATRIOT Act provisions are set to expire on December 31, 2009. This is the best chance we have had in the last eight years to get significant reforms to Section 215, often called the “library provision,” and to national security letters (NSLs).

The USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 protects constitutional speech and privacy rights by:

  • Amending the NSL statute to ensure that the government only obtains financial, communication and credit records of people believed to be terrorists or spies;
  • Requiring the government to convince a court that a national security gag order is necessary; and
  • Ensuring that Section 215 does not authorize collection of library and bookstore records if they contain individualized information on the patron.

Martha Reid
State Librarian
Vermont Department of Libraries
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Tel: (802) 828-3265
Fax: (802) 828-2199