RICHMOND, Feb. 27 – Delegate Bob Marshall urged the Virginia State Senate tonight to pass his bill to block Virginia’s political subdivisions, agencies, employees and National Guard personnel from assisting federal authorities or armed forces in “unlawful detention of United States citizens.”
“Our liberties literally hang in the balance,” Marshall (R., Manassas) said.
Earlier today, a move by Senate Democrats to send the bill back to that body’s Courts of Justice Committee was rejected by a tie roll call vote, 20-20, after which Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, as the Senate’s presiding officer, also cast a “nay” vote.
The bill, HB 1160, is scheduled for a vote during the Senate’s session tomorrow (Feb. 28). The Courts of Justice Committee sent the bill to the Senate floor on Wednesday (Feb. 22) by an 8-3 vote with three members abstaining. The legislation was passed by the Virginia House of Delegates on Feb. 4 by an overwhelming 94-4 roll call vote.
The Legislative Information Service describes HB 1160 as: “Unlawful detention of United States citizens. Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or anyVirginia law or regulation.”
At issue is an obscure Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act ostensibly authorizing a United States president to use the nation’s armed forces to detain American citizens that the president believes are or have been substantial supporters of al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated groups and to hold them indefinitely, to prosecute them before a military commission, or to transfer them to a foreign country.
President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 31. Since then, organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum and from coast to coast have raised concerns about the law.
In that regard, Marshall noted that support of his HB 1160 is broadly diverse, ranging from Gun Owners of America and to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“There are moments in our nation’s history when our liberties literally hang in the balance,” Marshall said. “This is one of those moments. I urge the Senate to join the overwhelming vote in the House of Delegates and pass this bill – to lead the way for sovereign states to refuse to cooperate when the federal government seeks to take away the civil liberties of our citizens.”
NOTE: The full text of Marshall’s HB 1160, as well as its complete legislative history to date, can be found at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=hb1160.
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Delegate Bob Marshall's contact information:
Mobile telephone – (703) 853-4213
Capitol telephone – (804) 698-1013 (during General Assembly sessions)
E-mail addresses – email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org