Political Notebook: Burr introduces Patriot Act alternative

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

As Congress looks to reform or reauthorize a controversial section of the Patriot Act — singed into law shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. —U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, has come up with his own solution to differences in opinion on the future of the controversial measure.

Burr, chairman of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, on Friday released details of a measure called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvements Act of 2015.

In a news release, Burr said his bill incorporates portions of the USA Freedom Act, which received unanimous support from U.S. Representatives with districts in Rowan when it passed the U.S. House earlier this month. At its core, the USA Freedom Act prevents the National Security Agency from collecting metadata of phone calls, such as the number and duration. Instead, the house’s bill would keep metadata in the hands of private companies.

In a news release, Burr said his bill better supports national security extending the transition period of metadata from the NSA to private telephone companies.

“It’s clear that the USA Freedom Act doesn’t protect our national security as well as it should, so I’m providing a framework to plug the holes in the bill,” Burr said in the release.

Provisions included in Burr’s bill are:

• ending bulk collection of telephone call information on June 30, 2017

• allows for outside experts into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority to grant or deny requests for surveillance warrants against suspected terrorists.

• permits the NSA to continue surveillance of terrorists who enter the U.S. for 72 hours while it looks to get further authority from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

• Permitting surveillance of domestic targets, even if they leave the United States

A key section of the Patriot Act is set to expire on June 1, which has prompted discussion.

McCrory signs tanning bill into law

Starting in October, most teens will have to wait a few years to hop in a tanning bed.

Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act into law. The law prohibits business owners and operators from allowing anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. The bill goes into affect on Oct. 1.

Previously, state law prevented anyone under 13 from using a tanning bed. However, written prescription from the person’s medical physician previously allowed children under 13 to use tanning beds.

The bill was named after a former state legislator who died in 2014 after a short battle with cancer.

“Dr. Fulghum used his medical expertise to improve the lives of his fellow citizens,” McCrory said. “He was taken from us much too soon, but he gave us a legacy that will save lives for generations to come.”
N.C. Policy Watch director speaks to Democrats Thursday
The Rowan County Democrats’ meeting on Thursday will feature Chris Fitzsimon, Director of North Carolina Policy Watch.
The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m Thursday in the county commissioners meeting room on 130 West Innes Street. Fitzsimon’s talk is entitled “Raleigh since 2010, what happened?” The meeting is open to the public.
Fitzsimon writes the daily Fitzsimon File, delivers a daily radio broadcast statewide on the North Carolina News Network and hosts “News and Views” a weekly radio news magazine.
North Carolina Policy Watch is a progressive, public policy think tank that’s a part of the North Carolina Justice Center.
Trump, others speaking at state convention
You’re fired. Just kidding. You’re hired to be a speaker at the North Carolina GOP Convention.
This year’s state Republican Party Convention has a few big-name politicians and one businessman — billionaire Donald Trump — on its agenda.
Trump is scheduled to speak on June 6, a Saturday.
Other speakers include, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Presidential Candidate Dr. Ben Carson, who is a neurosurgeon, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Joh Bolton. The convention is scheduled for Friday, June 5 to Sunday, June 7 in Raleigh.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.