Local communities can safeguard the civil rights and liberties of their residents by enacting local laws that can put your community on the offensive and put a cog in any President’s plans to trample on the Bill of Rights. Defending Rights & Dissent model ordinances contain provisions that:
- Declare that all people, regardless of race, religion, national origin, immigration status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation are welcome in the community.
- Prohibit discriminatory profiling
- Prohibit or limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
- Prohibit undercover infiltration or spying on activist groups or religious institutions.
- Protect social media from the prying eyes of the state.
We encourage you to join forces with others in your community to launch a campaign to pass local legislation. Our templates were written to respond to community concerns after the 2016 election. They are designed to be agile and adaptable in order to meet the different needs of diverse communities nationwide. Tooled to be supported by unconventional coalitions, these bills will empower you to take action to defend your rights and those of your neighbors.
- Model Resolution to Defend Rights and Dissent (PDF) (Word)
- Model Ordinance to Protect Against Discriminatory Profiling and Limit Surveillance, Intelligence Collection, and Immigration Enforcement Activities (PDF) (Word)
- Model Ordinance to Protect First Amendment Rights and Online Privacy (PDF) (Word)
- Talking points: Why Impose Legislative Limits on Local Law Enforcement?
- Local Police and Surveillance
- Explainer: What do the laws and resolution do? (PDF)
- Grassroots organizing toolkit
Sign up here for more information, updates, and resources as they are developed.
Additional model local ordinances focus on surveillance and transparency:
Resolutions allow your town or state to send a message to the federal government
Resolution opposing military detention and supporting the right to trial. In 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law. It includes a provisions that could allow indefinite and arbitrary military detention, without a trial or day in court, of anyone accused of any “belligerent act” or terror-related offense—including “material support” allegations based strictly on speech or association. It essentially subjects everyone within the US (including citizens, legal residents, and visitors) to the same lawless standards at work in Guantánamo Bay.
Resolution for accountability for torture offers an opportunity for municipalities and states to call on the federal government to pursue transparency and accountability through an independent commission and prosecution of all government officials complicit in degrading treatment.
On Thursday night, the capital of the smallest state in the union adopted a wide-ranging police reform measure with national and historic implications. The ordinance was inspired by our Local Civil Rights Restoration Act.
Oakland is on the verge of passing a strong regulatory framework that will make sure that no unconstitutional or unwarranted surveillance is taking place in Oakland. We need your help to make sure it becomes law.
A social event for people who care about liberty!
The monthly calls are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 3 pm Eastern/noon Pacific time, and are open to everyone working to protect and advance civil liberties at the local level. They are a great opportunity to learn and get inspired (or inspire others!).
Legislation would make Maryland a “Sanctuary” state, require uniform training and standards and reporting on SWAT deployments, and require that police obtain a search warrant before tracking people using “stingray” devices that mimic cell phone towers