COLUMBUS– Yesterday, in the final hours before the holiday recess, the Ohio General Assembly voted to pass the Ohio Patriot Act. The bill has come under intense criticism from civil liberties groups, immigrant rights advocates, and conservative organizations.
The most controversial provisions were sections requiring people to provide identification to police officers if they are traveling though “transportation infrastructure sites”, a provision requiring those applying for certain types of licenses to fill out a questionnaire about ties to terrorism, and a section that aimed to discourage municipalities from speaking out against the USA PATRIOT Act.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Ohio House has chosen to pass these provisions,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “We will continue to work to create a balance between security and liberty.”
Despite mounting pressure from the public, the much amended bill passed out of the House in a vote of 69-23. The bill was then sent to the Senate to approve amendments made by the House. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 29-2 and will now be sent to Governor Taft for his signature.
ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeff Gamso said, “While the passage of this bill is disappointing, we are encouraged by the avalanche of people who expressed concern over the Ohio Patriot Act. We know that the public will continue to scrutinize the effectiveness of this type of legislation and the threat it poses to civil liberties."