State Senate Passes Marshall's HB1160 with 38-1 Bipartisan Vote

38-1 Roll Call Vote  Now Legislation Returns to House of Delegates for Approval of Clarifying Amendment

RICHMOND, Feb. 28 – Delegate Bob Marshall said today that he is “deeply gratified” that the Virginia State Senate has passed his bill to protect Virginians from having to participate in the unconstitutional detention of United States citizens by federal authorities.

“I am hopeful that Governor McDonnell will sign this bill,” Marshall (R., Manassas), and that this law will provide an important protection for Virginians against improper federal action.  Moreover, it is my hope that other states will follow Virginia in responding to Washington, D.C.’s latest overreach, and that Congress will re-think this unconstitutional action.”

The Senate passed Delegate Bob Marshall’s HB 1160 to bar Virginia from assisting the federal government in the unlawful detention of United States citizens under an obscure provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress.

The Senate approved Marshall’s bill today by a 38-1 roll call vote.  It now must be returned to the Virginia House of Delegates for its approval of the clarifying Senate amendment, which vote probably will come tomorrow or Thursday.  The House passed the original bill on Feb. 4 by an overwhelming 96-4 roll call vote.

“This action is a repudiation of the unlawful action of Congress,” Marshall said after the Senate vote.  “The Constitution is to be followed, not abused.  The people of Virginia have spoken through their elected representatives in the General Assembly in rejecting a federal law purportedly giving the military the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without charges, counsel, or trial.

“I am deeply gratified that today the Virginia State Senate passed my bill HB 1160 by the overwhelming vote of 38-1.  The near-unanimous Senate vote follows passage of HB 1160 in the House of Delegates by a vote of 96-4.  Almost all Republicans and Democrats joined together in a great bipartisan effort to tell the Federal Government that these are powers that no President should be entrusted with.

The House vote occurred Feb. 4.  By a 20-20 tie vote, HB 1160 survived a Senate motion yesterday to send it back to its Courts of Justice Committee

“Twenty-four hours after the Virginia State Senate nearly killed my bill, thousands of Virginians learned that our liberties were on the line, and they made their views known.  Groups from the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union to Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights, Virginia Libertarians,, various Tea Party groups, and Campaign for Liberty, and many others, all publicly endorsed HB 1160.  The bipartisan nature of the vote today shows that Virginians are joining together to defend their liberties.”

“I want to thank my friend and colleague Senator Chap Petersen (D, Fairfax) for working with me on a clarifying amendment that I wholeheartedly supported, and for the forceful arguments offered on the floor by both State Sen. Dick Black (R, Leesburg) and State Sen. Richard Stewart (R, Montross).”

Peterson responded: “The unlawful detention of United States citizens is wrong, and here in the Commonwealth we will never assist in the detention of others, no matter the state of war that we may be in, or no matter the emergency.  The rule of law must persist in our nation, regardless of circumstances, or we shall fail in our commitment to justice.”

Marshall said the Senate-amended bill “makes it crystal clear that no one in the Virginia government ‘shall aid an agency of the United States in the unlawful detention of any United States citizen’ under the National Defense Authorization Act.

“Truly, such detentions would be unlawful just as the bill states,” Marshall said.

“I particularly want to thank the Japanese American Citizens League, which sent a letter to each senator telling them the story of the terrible detention of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II as ‘suspected enemy aliens.’  The letter concludes: “Virginia has the opportunity to stand up to an unjust application of Congressional authority.  The American people need somebody to stand up against this injustice.  HB 1160 is a tool that does just that; it stands up for the American people by respecting the basic principles of the Constitution.”  I am proud to stand with these patriotic Americans.”

The Senate’s clarifying amendment reads: “Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or employee of same acting in his official capacity, shall aid an agency of the United States in the unlawful detention of any United States citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. §1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-81, § 1021).”

A House vote is expected tomorrow or Thursday.


Delegate Bob Marshall's contact information:

Mobile telephone – (703) 853-4213

Capitol telephone – (804) 698-1013 (during General Assembly sessions)

E-mail addresses –