Hawaii Urges Restraint In Homeland Security
By Kavan Peterson, Staff Writer
April 2, 2003
The Hawaii legislature is debating a non-binding resolution that condemns sweeping new federal powers to fight terrorism and urges state and local officials to avoid any actions that threaten the civil rights of the state’s ethnically diverse residents.
The resolution has passed the state House. If the state Senate passes it, which sponsors say is likely, Hawaii will become the first state to go on record against provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act and the 2002 Homeland Security Act. Both statutes expand federal powers to spy on U.S. citizens and curb traditional court oversight of such activities.
Language in the Hawaii measure indirectly refers to the internment of Japanese-American citizens after Pearl Harbor. “The residents of Hawaii during World War II experienced firsthand the dangers of unbalanced pursuit of security without appropriate checks and balances," it states.
“While federal laws such as the USA Patriot Act … are aimed at saving our human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections, they run the serious risk of destroying the very freedoms that they purport to protect through invasive surveillance, secret searches and so forth,” said Hawaii Rep. Ken Ito (D), author of the House version of the resolution which passed by large majority in the Democratically-controlled House last week.