SJC To Vote On Surveillance Bill Next Week

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Maybe Mark Klein will consider this a small victory. The Senate Judiciary Committee is still going to mark up the surveillance bill this morning — its business meeting starts at 10 a.m. — but it won’t take up a vote on the full bill until next week.

Erica Chabot, a spokeswoman for Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), the committee chairman, says that the committee is going to consider the bill in two installments. Today it’ll mark up and vote on Title I, which deals with warrant issues, the role of the FISA Court in authorizing surveillance, sunsetting provisions and more. But Titles II and III will be deferred until next week — and that’s the section of the bill that concerns retroactive legal immunity for telecommunications companies. No matter what happens today, the full bill won’t be voted out of the committee; that’ll be next week, assuming the committee passes the measure.

Chabot says Leahy made the decision “to make [the markup] more manageable.” Compared to the other provisions of the bill, telecom immunity is “a much bigger debate.”