Some 89 cities have passed resolutions opposing the federal Patriot Act, the antiterrorism law enacted after September 11, 2001. At least one, the northern California town of Arcata, has enacted a law barring its officials from answering requests from the federal government under the law without checking with the City Council. Washington Post says council member David Meserve calls the measure “a nonviolent, preemptive attack.”
Some citizens groups are becoming increasingly organized and forceful in rebuking the Patriot Act and the later Homeland Security Act for giving the federal government too much power. A federal spokesperson notes that federal law supercedes local law in any case. And the San Francisco FBI office, whose jurisdiction includes Arcata, said that the agency has no plans to use the law there any time soon.
Nine Arcata officials could be fined up to $57 for disclosing information without authorization from the council.