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)
- 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.
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
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. It says: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Believe it or not, there’s some good news. The Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission, which is chaired by BORDC/DDF Patriot Award winner Brian Hofer, in January approved and passed to the Oakland City Council an ordinance that calls for close scrutiny of the city’s spy gear.
If the phrase “possibly illegal federal actions” makes you think of Donald Trump, you’re on the right track. Civil rights groups are more concerned about police participation in FBI investigations under the Trump administration than ever before.