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Sen. Franken Pushes to Increase Transparency of Federal Surveillance Programs Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Bill to Make FISA Court Opinions Public


Tue, Jun 11th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/11/13]—U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and a bipartisan group of Senators are pushing new legislation to bring greater transparency to federal surveillance programs. The bill would require the Attorney General to make public as much information as possible about the significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) legal opinions justifying the surveillance programs that have recently come to light.

“There needs to be a balance between Americans’ right to privacy and the government’s responsibility to keep Americans safe,” said Sen. Franken. “And ensuring that the court overseeing surveillance programs is as transparent as possible is a key step toward reaching that balance. This legislation will help make the process more open to the American people and to the people of Minnesota.”

Sen. Franken has long called for greater transparency and privacy protections for surveillance programs carried out under the PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In 2011 and 2012, he voted against reauthorizing these laws after efforts to increase transparency and oversight failed.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a special U.S. federal court tasked with authorizing requests for surveillance both inside and outside the United States. Because of the sensitive nature of these requests, the FISC opinions are not made public. The FISC rulings, orders, and other deliberations are highly classified. The Court’s rulings can include substantive interpretations of the law that could be quite different from a plain reading of the law passed by Congress, and such interpretations determine the extent of the government’s surveillance authority. There is certainly information included in the Court’s orders and rulings that is necessarily classified, related to the sources and methods of collection used by intelligence agencies. However, the substantive legal interpretations of what the FISC says the law should be made public to the greatest extent possible.

This legislation would accommodate national security concerns. If the Attorney General determines that a Court opinion cannot be declassified without undermining national security interests, then the Attorney General can declassify a summary of the opinion. If the Attorney General determines that even a summary of an opinion would undermine national security, the Att .....
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Minnesota Farm Bureau Commends Senate for Passing Farm Bill

Tue, Jun 11th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) applauds the U.S. Senate for moving forward to complete work on the bipartisan farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Jobs and Food Act of 2013. The bill provides needed risk management tools and a viable ..... 
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Minnesota Farm Bureau Comments on Legislative Session

Tue, Jun 4th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

“The recently completed Minnesota legislative session took some positive steps forward for Farm Bureau and agriculture in Minnesota, but in the area of taxes, we may have taken a few steps backward,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) P ..... 
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REP. DAVIDS: ALL MINNESOTANS WILL PAY MORE THANKS TO DEMOCRAT TAX INCREASE AGREEMENT

Tue, May 21st, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL – Minnesota House and Senate Democrats have approved the largest tax increase in decades, and State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston) said all hardworking taxpayers will feel the impact. “Legislative Democrats told us they would ..... 
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HOUSE APPROVES ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES & AG BUDGET

Tue, May 21st, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN — Lawmakers in the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the conference committee report on the Omnibus Environment, Natural Resources, & Agriculture finance bill this evening by a vote of 71 to 60. The bill takes serious steps to ..... 
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AGREEMENT ON TROUT STREAM SETBACK LANGUAGE

Wed, May 15th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

(St. Paul) – This week, House and Senate members, the governor’s administration, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) came to an agreement on legislation regarding silica sand minin ..... 
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AGREEMENT ON TROUT STREAM SETBACK LANGUAGE

Mon, May 13th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

(St. Paul) – This week, House and Senate members, the governor’s administration, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) came to an agreement on legislation regarding silica sand minin ..... 
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Commissioner Rothman teams up with AARP to talk about elder fraud, financial abuse prevention

Mon, Apr 22nd, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

Statewide Tele-town hall focused on the fight against senior fraud SAINT PAUL, MN – Within this decade, there will be more Minnesotans over the age of 65 than children enrolled in our public schools. Senior citizens across the country hold the ..... 
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Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Third Judicial District Candidates to Governor Dayton

Thu, Apr 18th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today it is recommending three candidates to Governor Mark Dayton for consideration to fill the vacancy in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District. This vacancy was created upon the retire ..... 
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