[JURIST] The US Senate moved closer towards a long-term renewal of the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] Thursday, easily overcoming a filibuster [JURIST report] by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) [official website] in a 96-3 vote [roll call]. Sens. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) [official website] and Robert Byrd (D-WV) [official website] cast the only votes joining Feingold in his efforts.
Feingold has taken issue with a renewal provision of the Patriot Act dealing with the issuance of National Security Letters [JURIST report], a section of the bill Feingold wants to have expire after four years. Feingold also sought to amend the current legislation to force the government to notify the subject of a secret investigation within seven days, or obtain a court order upholding the secrecy of the search for a longer period, as the current bill being debated sets a 30-day requirement. Sixteen of the Patriot Act provisions [CRS backgrounder, PDF] are set to expire on March 10, following the most recent short-term extension vote [JURIST report]. AP has more.