Maryland considering resolution condemning NDAA kidnapping provisions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Feb. 16, 2012) – The number of state and local governments lining up in opposition to the detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act continues to grow.

Last Friday, Maryland legislators joined the rising chorus against government sanctioned kidnapping. Delegates Michael A. McDermott (R-District 38B) and Michael D. Smigiel, Sr. (R-District 36) submitted HJR 12, which “condemns specified provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 that threaten United States citizens with unlawful detention without trial in violation of the citizens’ right to the guarantees of habeas corpus and due process and urges the United States Congress to reconsider and repeal certain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”

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New Jersey Fights to Preserve Electoral College

After the 2000 presidential election which George W. Bush won the majority in the Electoral College but lost the national popular vote, another attack on state soverneinty has gone largely unnoticed.  This time it is coming from an organization called National Popular Vote Inc., who describes their effort as a  “reform” the Electoral College. 

The agreement among the states pledges the electoral votes from each adopting state to the winner of the the national popular vote, regardless of the popular vote in that state.  A statement on the group’s website reads “The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation’s voters for the president of the United States.  The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election”.

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Missouri Legislature to Consider Health Care Freedom Act

House Joint Resolution No.72: Allows for vote on amending Missouri Constitution in relation to health care freedom

Website: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HJR72&year=2012&code=R 

“That the liberty inherent in each citizen includes autonomy in decisions regarding lawful health care-related services or products and the manner in which contracting parties may agree for payment to be made for such services or products. No government official or agency shall have any authority either to compel any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system, or to impose any sort of direct or indirect penalty, tax, fee, or levy for choosing not to participate in such a system; nor shall any government official or agency make a citizen’s right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful health care services subject to any form of direct or indirect penalty, tax, fee, or levy. “– Text from HJR72

When President Obama disregarded the Constitutional concerns of Americans by signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010 – one can’t help but think of Patrick Henry’s prophetic statement at the Virginia Ratifying Convention of June 5, 1788: “….there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers; the powers of a King: He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence: So that the whole of our property may be taken by this American Government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure….

However, in Missouri – that could be about to change.

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Oklahoma Legislator Introduces NDAA Nullifying Resolution

Another brave state legislator has joined the resistance to federal tyranny by defending the constitutional right of states to govern themselves.
 On February 3,  Oklahoma Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City, left) offered a bill that would officially request that the Congress of the United States repeal Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Furthermore, the legal effect of those two sections would be void in Oklahoma.

In a press release accompanying the introduction of the bill, Rep. Key explained his motivation for putting forth the proposal:

President Barack Obama has said he would not hold citizens indefinitely; it is deplorable that he would sign into law legislation that contains clauses that would authorize him to do just that. Oklahomans have taken notice of this repugnant new law and as state lawmakers it is our duty to apply pressure to Congress and the president to undo this debacle.

This commendable attitude echoes that of another state lawmaker, Brian Nieves of Missouri, whoexplained to The New American his reason for sponsoring similar legislation in the Show Me State:

It is time for the members of the State Legislatures of this great Republic to stand up and assert the proper relationship between the several states and the federal government. For far too long I’ve heard state legislators say, “We can’t do that — the feds won’t let us,” when instead, it should be members of our U.S. Congress saying, “We can’t do that — the states won’t let us!”

The preamble to the 15-page concurrent resolution lays out an appropriate affront and a laudable tone for the Sooner lawmaker’s determination to nullify illegal federal encroachment into the sovereign territory of the states. The proposal declares that

the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 is unconstitutional; directing Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to commence efforts to repeal certain sections of the act; expressing belief that the unconstitutional sections of the act are not enforceable within the state and prohibiting state officers from enforcing them; and directing distribution.

From there, the text of the bill lays out a well-reasoned response to the power afforded to the President by the NDAA to deploy the U.S. military to apprehend and indefinitely detain American citizens on mere suspicion of posing a threat to the security of the homeland.

For example, Rep. Key’s resolution plainly and without reservation appeals to the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma for support of his defense of state sovereignty:

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Seven and Counting. Two More Cities Reject NDAA

In recent days, resistance to federal kidnapping powers in the 2012 NDAA (specifically sections 1021 and 1022 of the Act) has been catching on like wildfire. Virginia’s House of Delegates this week passed a bill to refuse compliance with the Act by a whopping vote of 96-4. Other states are considering similar laws and resolutions as well. And, sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect a minimum of ten other states doing the same in the short term.

But it’s not just states that are taking action against what some are calling the new “intolerable acts.” Local communities are standing up to say NO as well. Towns, cities and counties around the country are being presented with model legislation that they can use to consider a resolution or a binding ordinance and in quick time – a number has already voiced their approval of such action.

The most recent? The town of Macomb, NY and Northampton, MA overwhelmingly approved resolutions opposing the NDAA. The resolutions hold a similar tone with language such as the following:

“the indefinite military detention of any person without trial violates the 5th and 6th amendments of the Constitution of the United States, Article III of the Constitution of the United States, and the Posse Comitatus Act”

Macomb Councilman Steve Burke included an impassioned plea for support as a preamble to the 8-page resolution which passed there. He wrote – “In the words of Benjamin Franklin “those that seek to trade the blessings of liberty for security deserve neither;” Each council member has before them a resolution. I ask for your support on this resolution.”

Northampton took the idea of a resolution denouncing the act a step further by requiring local noncompliance. From the resolution, the city states that they will

“Instruct all our public agencies to decline requests by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, or rights to counsel.”

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NDAA Nullification Bill Passes Arizona Senate Committee 6-1

By a vote of 6-1 (with 1 abstaining) the Arizona Senate’s Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty Committee approved Senate Bill 1182 (SB1182), bringing it one step away from a full Senate vote.

SB1182, if signed into law, “Prohibits this state and agencies of this state from participating in the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Classifies the act of attempting to enforce or enforcing these sections as a class 1 misdemeanor.”

A modified version of the Liberty Preservation Act released by the Tenth Amendment Center this month, Arizona joins a growing choir of states and localities who’ve decided that waiting for federal politicians to repeal their own power is something they’re not willing to risk.

The bill was introduced by Senator Sylvia Allen, originally on 01-19-12 on a different subject. But, through a process in Arizona known as a “strike everything amendment” she was able to insert the Liberty Preservation Act language into the bill in time for the committee hearing today. According to the Arizona Legislature,

A “strike everything after the enacting clause” amendment (also referred to as a “strike everything” amendment or simply a “striker”) proposes to delete the entire text of the existing bill and substitute new language, essentially making it a completely different bill, possibly on an entirely different subject. These amendments are sometimes used to allow legislators to circumvent the deadlines on introduction of new legislation, deal with an issue that arises after the deadline or revive a bill that has previously been defeated.

A strike everything amendment was also submitted for Senate Concurrent Resolution 1011 (SCR1011), which includes the following position amongst a long denouncement of the federal act signed into law by Barack Obama on 12-31-11:

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Will Missouri Nullify Obamacare?

House Bill No. 1534: Declares the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional

Website: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?year=2012&bill=HB%201534

The limitation of the national government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is reserved to the states respectively, or to the people themselves; Whenever the national government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their national government… Although the several states have granted supremacy to laws and treaties made pursuant to the powers granted in the Constitution, such supremacy does not apply to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, because that act exceeds the powers granted to the national government;” – text from HB1534 

Since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, many Constitutionalists agree that the Federal law exceeds the power granted to Congress under the United States Constitution. Because of this, many state leaders around our nation are stepping forward to protect our individual freedom to choose – and voicing a need for the proper exercising of tenth amendment and state nullification actions.

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Five and Counting: New Shoreham RI Rejects NDAA

            Less than one month ago I petitioned the New Shoreham (Block Island), Rhode Island, Town Council to pass a resolution in opposition to section 1021 of the NDAA. In 2003 the Council passed a resolution in opposition to the Patriot Act, so I knew they would give my petition a fair shake.

            Thankfully, the Town Council righteously passed the resolution tonight; which demonstrates the great utility in local governments to fight unconstitutional Federal acts. State legislative bureaucratic morass slows the passage of legislation. Citizen disconnect mitigates individual legislator’s accountability for failure to act. Conversely, local governments move fast and the limited number of council members eliminates plausible deniability for failure to act. Local leaders live in the communities they represent, and are held to account for their action, or inaction, daily.

            Included in my petition to the Council were two great resources available to all citizens: 1) the model resolution drafted by us here at the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition and our friends at the Tenth Amendment Center and 2) the model letter to local governing bodies. I also published a copy of the model letter in the local New Shoreham paper which brought out concerned community members and publically put the onus on the Council.

            The beauty of the resolution is that it comprehensively lays forth exactly how the NDAA offends our fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. It educates and sets the table for a productive meeting. The model letter is a great resource because it answers the question that many local governing bodies have; why should local bodies act and not just leave it to the state legislatures or Congress? The compelling answer is that local councils have taken an oath to uphold the constitution, they have the ability to respond to unconstitutional acts, and thus, they must.

            At the first Town Council meeting last week, the counselors were well informed and asked all the right questions. They pointed to the provision of section 1021 that seeks to preserve existing law and authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens, and asked; does this not protect individual rights? I responded that the laws and authorities are not clear, and importantly, the office of President, under both Bush and Obama, has professed the authority indefinitely detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. I pointed to the Padilla case, where the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the President may indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant. Padilla had been held in military detention for 3.5 years with no trial. Thereafter, the Supreme Court refused to consider the appeal after Padilla was transferred to civilian jurisdiction, invoking a sharp rebuke from three Supreme Court justices. 

            In my opinion, the Supreme Court was derelict in its duty to consider the issue and perpetuated the grey area of authorities NDAA section 1021 seeks to preserve. I argued that there should never be any vagueness or grey area concerning the fundamental rights the NDAA purports to eviscerate.  Moreover, the jurisdictional game the Office of President played with Padilla undermines its credibility in dealing with purported enemy combatants. Under the Padilla precedent, the President can simply hold another U.S. citizen for 3.5 years and then transfer him to civilian jurisdiction in order to avoid Supreme Court review and establishment of concrete authority concerning the President’s powers under the 2001 AUMF and the NDAA.

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NDAA Nullification Passes Virginia House 96-4

On Tuesday, February 14th, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of House Bill 1160 (HB1160). The final vote was 96-4.

The legislative goal of HB1160 is to codify in Virginia law noncompliance with what many are referring to as the “kidnapping provisions” of section 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). The official summary of 1160:

“A BILL to prevent 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 citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

HB1160 is sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall and was introduced on 01-16-12. It previously passed out of Sub-Committee #2 Civil, by a vote of 6-3 and the Courts of Justice Committee by a vote of 16-0. After a series of action alerts by the Tenth Amendment Center nationally, and a number of supporting groups locally – Courts of Justice committee members heard from the people they represent that a full house hearing and vote to reject the NDAA is what they wanted. With a 96-4 vote, the Virginia House sent a message on indefinite detentions – a resounding NO!

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Florida to Consider Medical Marijuana Bills

Two proposals are before the Florida Legislature to put an amendment on the ballot next November to the State Constitution which would allow medical use of cannabis by citizens.

House Joint Resolution 353 and Senate Joint Resolution 1028 both have been resubmitted from last year’s session and HJR 353 has been sent to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee where it has had its first reading and SJR 1028 has been reintroduced to the Senate. Both bills have similar wording to be put to the citizens of Florida as a proposed amendment to the states constitution. If the bills are passed then the proposed amendment would need to receive 60 percent affirmative votes for passage since it would be an amendment to the state constitution.

Both bills propose amending the State Constitution to provide a patient or primary caregiver charged with a violation of the state’s criminal laws related to the patient’s medical use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, with a defense to the charge if the patient has a debilitating condition and the physician, in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, determines that the patient might benefit from the medical use of cannabis.

HJR 353 was introduced by Clemens (CO-SPONSORS) Bullard; Kriseman; Pafford; Rehwinkel Vasilinda

SJR 1028 was introduced by Bullard

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