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Government Spy Powers: Senators voted, 73-23, to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act through 2017. This law authorizes government spying without specific warrants on foreigners’ electronic messages passing through telecommunications switching points in the U.S., among other provisions. A yes vote was send HR 5949 to President Obama.

Robert Menendez, D: NO

Frank Lautenberg, D: NOT VOTING

Fourth Amendment Protections: Senators refused, 12-79, to require search warrants for government inspections of customer records held by firms such as Internet service providers, credit cards and banks. The Supreme Court has held that warrantless “third party” searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections. A yes vote backed the amendment to HR 5949 (above).

Menendez: NO

Lautenberg: NOT VOTING

Spying on Americans: Senators refused, 43-52, to require minimal public disclosure of the extent to which U.S. citizens’ communications are inadvertently collected in spying authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (HR 5949, above). The law requires such intercepts to be expunged or disregarded, but there is no public oversight to see if that occurs. A yes vote backed the requirement.

Menendez: YES

Lautenberg: NOT VOTING

FISA Court Rulings: Senators refused, 37-54, to require the secretive federal courts that oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to eventually release their opinions fully or in summaries with redactions to protect national security. A yes vote backed the amendment to HR 5949 (above).

Menendez: YES

Lautenberg: NOT VOTING

Source: Voterama in Congress

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