New Bills to Increase Legal Protection for People Who Report Suspicious Activities
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Two new bills that were introduced in the House and Senate on March 8, 2011 are designed to increase the legal protections of citizens that report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

The first bill is called the “See Something, Say Something Act of 2011”, and was introduced by the leadership of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, consisting of Senator Susan Collins, (R-ME), and Senator Joe Lieberman, (I-CT) on March 8.  A companion bill was introduced in the House on the same day by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX).

These bills are designed to protect Americans who give tips to government and police officials from frivolous lawsuits that sometimes occur when a tip is given about the wrong person.  In a statement by Senator Lieberman and Collins it said that some Americans are afraid to tip off authorities because of the way that the U.S. legal system currently works in some cases.  The statement then gives an example of such a case, “For example, in 2006, a group of US Airways passengers found themselves as defendants in a civil rights lawsuit after they reported six Islamic clerics requesting seat changes and asking for, but not using, seat belt extenders that could potentially be used as weapons. They were acting in good faith to report suspicious activity and ended up in tangled litigation.



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