Virginia Senate Passes HB 1160!

Thanks to the efforts of Campaign for Liberty members and other freedom fighters, Virginia once again is leading the charge against a federal government powergrab.  Today, the Virginia Senate finally allowed the passage of HB 1160, a bill to prevent Virginia from cooperating with the federal government in the unlawful detention of American citizens under the FY 2012 NDAA. 

The bill now heads to Governor Bob McDonnell's desk, where now Virginians must entreat their Governor to sign the bill into law.  

Thanks again for everyone's diligent efforts, and for those of you not in Virginia, please stay tuned for how you can assist similar efforts in your own state!

I'd like to share with you all the statement from Delegate Bob Marshall, the bills patron, following the senate vote:

Today, the Virginia State Senate nearly unanimously passed my bill, HB 1160, to prevent Virginia’s state and local government agencies from cooperating with the federal government in the indefinite detention of Virginians under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (“NDAA”).  I am grateful that the vote in the Senate to accede to the bill as passed by the House of Delegates was 37-1.  The bill now will be presented to Governor Robert McDonnell. 

         I want to express my deepest appreciation to all those who worked so hard to get this bill through the General Assembly.  Congress, by including this provision in a must pass bill affecting our Armed Forces, made a terrible mistake in empowering this or any future President and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely, without charges, without the chance to confront their accusers, without legal counsel, and without a trial.

         These provisions were inserted at the last minute into a 900-plus page bill that Congress had to pass to defend our nation, and many in Congress who originally voted for the bill disagreed with these provisions.  I am honored to have played a part in having the Virginia General Assembly now go on record in defense of the civil liberties of our people, standing against this unconstitutional provision of the NDAA.

         The writ of Habeas Corpus in our Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) is what separates America from dictatorships around the world.  Giving anyone the unfettered power to “detain” American citizens without trial, counsel, specific charges, or a public record of such proceedings is unwise, imprudent and at fundamental odds with the assumptions of our government and legal traditions.

         The next order of business is for Governor McDonnell to sign this bill, and I respectfully call on him to do so, joining the General Assembly in protecting Virginians against unbridled exercise of federal power to detain American citizens.

         Efforts were made to kill this bill for various reasons, but in fact opposition to HB 1160 necessarily relies on an embrace of a strong centralized Government with power which knows no practical limits.  No President — no matter who they may be — not the military, no one, should be entrusted with the totalitarian powers encompassed in NDAA.

         In refusing to cooperate with NDAA, the Virginia General Assembly is performing its historic role as explained by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 26 as ‘not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens, against encroachments from the Federal government will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rules and will be ready enough, if anything improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people and not only to be the VOICE but, if necessary, the ARM of their discontent.'

         In Congress, both Virginia Senators and a majority of the House delegation opposed these detention provisions in NDAA.  I ask Virginia’s representatives in Congress to take the lead in repealing this unconstitutional law.

         On the Senate side, this never would have happened without the leadership of Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), and the forceful advocacy of Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun), and Senator Donald McEachin (D-Richmond).  On the House side, I particularly want to thank Delegate David Albo (R-Fairfax) for his unwavering support, and Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) for his assistance and support.  As my friend Chap Petersen said, ‘I just think sometimes that the right wing and the left wing get to come together on an issue of civil liberties, and I think this is a good example of that,’ and ‘HB1160 is something everyone could get behind.'

         In addition, I want to thank a broad spectrum of civil liberties minded groups who helped greatly to explain this issue to Virginians and to correct some of the disinformation spread about the bill.  These include groups from the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union on one end to Gun Owners of America, Campaign for Liberty, Downsize DC.org, the Tenth Amendment Center, National Association for Gun Rights, Virginia Libertarians, many TEA Party groups across the Commonwealth, and many others.” 

             The final language of the bill as passed by the House of Delegates, and as acceded to by the Senate, is as follows: “Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or any member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, may engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States in the execution of 50 U.S.C. 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States in violation of Article I, Section 8 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.”

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