For those of you who have been following Virginia's efforts to thwart the NDAA's detention provisions, the bill needs our help one more time.
Tomorrow, the Virginia Senate could have the final vote on HB 1160, either sending it to the Governor's desk for his signature or burying it to die from inaction in a conference committee.
Delegate Bob Marshall, HB 1160's patron, is urging Virginians to contact their state senators immediately and urge them to recede from the Senate Amendment and vote to approve the House version of HB 1160.
Please read the important letter below from Bob Marshall and take action if you live in Virginia - or pass it on to someone you know who resides there.
Thank you for all of your support through this strange back and forth on HB 1160.
As most of you know because HB 1160 was amended in the Senate (with my support) it had to go back to the House for approval of the Senate amendment. For several days after it was back on the House calendar, Delegate Barbara Comstock asked that the bill be "passed by for the day" to delay a vote on the bill. Delegate Comstock was the U.S. Justice Department's spokesperson for the Patriot Act and is the Virginia co-chair for Mitt Romney's campaign. Mitt Romney has said that he would have signed the 2012 NDAA including the objectionable detention portions.
During the time it was being passed by each day it became clear that the Governor had "expressed concerns" to some House members about the bill including the Republican Caucus Chairman, Tim Hugo. The Governor's Office has NEVER contacted me with questions or helpful suggestions about HB 1160. Governor McDonnell previously indicated his opposition to HB 1160 when it was in the House subcommittee.
Finally on March 6, 2012, under pressure from many outraged Virginians who had contacted their members to demand a vote on the bill, the House finally voted. The house voted to not accept the Senate Amendments by a vote of 48-51. In my judgment this was merely a ploy to kill HB 1160 in a stalled conference committee.
As I write this Delegate Comstock is personally lobbying senators in opposition to HB 1160. She claimed that Congressman Wolf had expressed concern about HB 1160. However, I personally talked to the Chief of Staff for Congressman Wolf about HB 1160. He told me that Congressman Wolf never gets involved in General Assembly bills other than gambling measures, and that he had taken NO position on HB 1160. Delegate Comstock also claimed on the House floor that the National Guard was concerned about HB 1160 because it might affect joint state federal information sharing. But the National Guard representative never mentioned these or any such concerns when I presented HB 1160 in both the full House and Senate Courts Committee.
Thanks in part to Senator Chap Petersen, today the Senate receded from its amendment and accepted the original House language. This is what I had hoped would happen even though I supported the Senate Amendment because it will allow the Senate's vote to be the final vote on the bill. In other words, if the Senate accepts the House language there is no need for it to be sent to a conference committee. They then reconsidered the vote that they had just taken to recede from the Senate amendment and the bill was "passed by for the day." HB 1160 should be up for a final vote tomorrow, March 8, 2012, in the Senate. If the Senate votes again to recede from their amendment and then votes to approve the House language tomorrow the bill will be sent to the Governor. It they decide not to recede from the amendments the bill will be sent to conference committee where it is likely to be killed by taking no action. If they vote to recede from the amendments but then vote against the House version of the bill the bill will be dead.
THEREFORE, those who support HB 1160 should contact the Senators TONIGHT and ask them to RECEDE FROM THE SENATE AMENDMENTS AND VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE HOUSE PASSED VERSION OF HB 1160 when it comes up for a vote TOMORROW, March 8, 2012. Below is a list of the Senators with contact information and how they voted today.
Thank you again for your support. Please share this with as many people as possible.
Delegate Bob Marshall
Senators Voting Against HB 1160
Senator Barbara Favola firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Emmett Hanger email@example.com
Senator Ryan McDougle firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7504
Senator John Miller email@example.com 804-698-7501
Senator Tommy Norment firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7503
Senator Frank Ruff email@example.com 804-698-7515
Senator Dick Saslaw firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7535
Senator Bill Stanley email@example.com 804-698-7520
Senator Walter Stosch firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7512
Senator John Watkins email@example.com 804-698-7510
Senators Voting in Support of HB 1160
Senator George Barker firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7539
Senator Dick Black email@example.com 804-698-7513
Senator Churck Colgan firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7529
Senator Creigh Deeds email@example.com 804-698-7525
Senator Adam Ebbin firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7530
Senator John Edwards email@example.com 804-698-7521
Senator Tom Garrett firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7522
Senator Mark Herring email@example.com 804-698-7533
Senator Janet Howell firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7532
Senator Mamie Locke email@example.com 804-698-7502
Senator Louise Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7518
Senator Dave Marsden email@example.com 804-698-7537
Senator Henry Marsh firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7516
Senator Steve Martin email@example.com 804-698-7511
Senator Donald McEachin firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7509
Senator Jeffrey McWaters email@example.com 804-698-7508
Senator Yvonne Miller firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7505
Senator Steve Newman email@example.com 804-698-7523
Senator Ralph Northam firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7506
Senator Mark Obenshain email@example.com 804-698-7526
Senator Chap Petersen firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7534
Senator Phillip Puckett email@example.com 804-698-7538
Senator Toddy Puller firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7536
Senator Bryce Reeves email@example.com 804-698-7517
Senator Ralph Smith firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7519
Senator Richard Stuart email@example.com 804-698-7528
Senator Jill Vogel firstname.lastname@example.org 804-698-7527
Senator Frank Wagner email@example.com 804-698-7507