LANSING (AP) A sweeping package of legislation designed to thwart terrorism in Michigan easily cleared the state Senate yesterday, with senators evoking the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to rally broad support.
“September 11th was a wake-up call for everyone,” said Sen. William Van Regenmorter (R-Georgetwn Twp.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which approved the 19 bills. “The issue of terrorism is real. We need to give our police agencies the powerful tools they need to protect us.”
Several senators all Democrats balked at a bill to permit state and local police to wiretap individuals.
“The suggestion that this bill will protect Michigan citizens from terrorism is just a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down,” said Sen. Martha Scott (D-Highland Park).
But Van Regenmorter said the bill contained extensive protections to avert abuse.
That bill and others were approved by lopsided majorities and sent to the House, which is already considering several more minor measures to complete the anti-terrorism package.
The primary bill in the package would make terrorist acts a crime in Michigan and enhance the penalties for those acts.