Daines intends to introduce bill to reform PATRIOT Act

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on Jan. 23 said he plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to help protect the privacy of his home-state constituents and all Americans.

“Montanans want their privacy protected,” Sen. Daines said. “That’s why I’m fighting to protect our civil liberties and stop the federal government from interfering in our lives.”

Sen. Daines intends to introduce the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act of 2020 with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the U.S. House, U.S. Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced legislation, H.R. 5675, on Jan. 24 to reform Section 215 of the sweeping anti-terrorism law, the USA PATRIOT Act, officially the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, which was signed into law in 2001.

According to Sen. Daines’ office, the National Security Agency has used the law to create a secret mass surveillance program that also has swept up millions of Americans’ phone calls.

If enacted, the bipartisan, bicameral measure would permanently end the phone surveillance program by closing loopholes and prohibiting secret interpretation of the law, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Daines’ office.

The bill also would prohibit the collection of geolocation information by intelligence agencies.

“This is one of the most American pieces of legislation that the Senate could deliver. First off, it is an important bipartisan solution that proves our legislators can put the United States first. Second, it provides sunshine and clarifies our nation’s domestic surveillance programs. Third, it ensures American’s fourth amendment rights are clearly protected. And last, it updates and clarifies extremely outdated technology laws,” said Daniel Zolnikov, a Republican member of the Montana Legislature and chairman of the Montana House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee. “I applaud both Senator Daines and Senator Wyden for taking their job and their oath to the constitution serious.”