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Sen. Mike Lee talks about alternative to Patriot Act

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Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-01 20:38:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Key portions of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Monday, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul using Senate rules to hold the bill for consideration until Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee said it didn't have to be this way.

"It didn't need to come to this. I think a better alternative would be to pass the USA FREEDOM Act, get it signed into law before this expiration," Lee said.

Lee and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont are sponsoring the act that now stands as the most likely compromise when the Senate can take up the debate again on Wednesday. The USA FREEDOM Act changes the most controversial aspect of the Patriot Act, a portion of section 215 allowing the NSA to collect what is called phone "metadata."

Metadata is the records of who called you and who you called. Under the Patriot Act, it allowed the government to collect that information on everyone so long as they only used it once they had cause.

Lee's alternative is to ask phone companies to hold on to such records so the government can seek it out when there is legal cause.