For the third day, the Virginia House of Delegates failed to vote on an amended version of HB1160.
The bill would prohibit any state cooperation with federal agents attempting to unlawfully detain a U.S. citizen under provisions in sections 1021 or 1022 of the NDAA. The House passed its version 96-4 back on Feb 14. Then the Senate overwhelmingly approved an amended version last week by a 38-1 vote. That sent the legislation back to the House for final approval. But U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Gov. Bob McDonnell have reportedly gotten involved behind the scenes, seeking to block final passage. Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-McClean) asserts passage could create “security risks” and has reportedly insinuated passage could result in a withdrawal of “federal cooperation” in the state.
Comstock was one of only four delegates to initially oppose the bill.
Delegate Bob Marshall sponsors the legislation. He had strong words for those seeking to block the bill.
“I am disappointed the House of Delegates for the third time has refused to go on record on HB1160,” he said. “If this bill dies without a record vote, I will conclude you agree that the word of habeas corpus can be suspended by Congress despite their not following the procedure provided in article 1 section 9, and that American citizens in Virginia may be taken off our streets with mere suspicion, no trial, no counsel, no charges, no public record for the indefinite duration of hostilities.”
Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said it was imperative that the House of Delegates get the bill passed, not just for the sake of Virginia citizens, but also to generate momentum across the country.
“If Virginia can get this done, it will send a message to other states and hopefully spur them to action. Eight other legislatures are considering ways to thwart NDAA detention, and more are considering it. This is an opportunity for Virginia to take the lead in protecting the basic rights of every person in America,” he said.
Maharrey said he found it difficult to understand how anybody could oppose states taking action to block indefinite detention without due process, unless they really believe the federal government should exercise such power.
“If what supporters say is true and NDAA does not authorize indefinite detention, what is the harm in this legislation? Why would anybody oppose it? It does nothing but serve notice that state and local officials will not sit back and allow the federal government to exercise unconstitutional powers – powers many supporters claim don’t exist anyway. The only rational I can find for anybody opposing this bill is if they really do want the option of detaining without due process to remain open,” he said. “You can only oppose this legislation if you accept the idea that the federal government has the authority to do whatever it wants with absolutely no check on its actions – Constitution be damned. If you ask me, that’s a lot scarier than whatever terrorist threat they claim to be protecting me from.”
“This bill has national implications. If it passes, it will give others courage to do the same. More states will refuse to comply. And other states, like Missouri and Tennessee that are already considering the next step – criminal charges for federal agents trying to kidnap – they’ll have a little more backbone knowing that the Commonwealth of Virginia blazed the trail and opened the doors for them to go to the next level,” TAC executive director Michael Boldin said. “We strongly urge you to get on the phone and your email right now to ask, urge, and demand that your delegate support HB1160 immediately.”
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