LANSING (AP) The Senate Judiciary Committee quickly approved 19 terrorism-related bills yesterday, despite criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and others that the measures are unnecessary and, in some cases, unconstitutional.
The bills, which now move to the full Senate, would make terrorist acts a crime and enhance the penalties for those acts. They define “terrorist acts” as violent felonies that are intended to intimidate, coerce or change the civilian population or the government.
The bills also would allow police to use wiretaps on phones, computers, radios, pagers and other devices during criminal investigations.
Committee members asked few questions and passed most of the bills without discussion. Senate Judiciary Chairman William Van Regenmorter (R-Georgetown Twp.) said the bills will give law enforcement the tools to fight terrorism and other crimes.
“This is an opportunity to do something important. We need to have something that”s pre-emptive,” he said.
Kary Moss, director of the ACLU of Michigan, questioned the need for the bills, since violent felonies already are punishable under the law.