LANSING, Mich. (January 31, 2013) – Yesterday, Michigan joined the swelling ranks of states considering legislation that would effectively block any state cooperation with federal officials seeking to detain Americans under provisions in sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) introduced HB4138. The legislation would prohibit any state agent, state employee or member of the Michigan National Guard from assisting “an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to 50 USC 1541, as provided by the federal national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012, Public Law 112-81”
Fourteen cosponsors signed on to the bill in just the first day. Last fall, the Michigan House passed this same bill, HB5768, by a vote of 107-0. After getting to the Senate near the close of the legislative session in December, it didn’t make it to a floor debate in time for full passage. But, this unanimous vote shows strong support for the bill on both sides of the political aisle.
“Once again we see the bipartisan nature of the pushback against federal kidnapping,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is an American issue.”
In the State Senate, a companion bill has been introduced as well. SB94 was sponsored by State Senator Rick Jones and six co-sponsors.
In the 1840s and 1850s, northern states effectively used a similar strategy to block implementation of the Fugitive Slave Acts. The federal law denied due process to blacks accused of running away from slavery. A slave-owner could haul a man or woman back south simply on the authority of his own testimony. A black person was not even allowed to testify in her own defense. Northern states passed personal liberty laws, in some cases refusing state cooperation, denying the use of state resources to slave commissioners and forbidding state officers to participate in the process. Other state laws guaranteed any person charged as a fugitive slave a jury trial.
Michigan passed its personal liberty law in 1855. It guaranteed in section two, “All persons so arrested and claimed as fugitive slaves, shall be entitled to all the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus and of trial by jury,” and section five declared, “No person arrested and claimed as a fugitive slave shall be imprisoned in any jail or other prison in this State; and any person having the care or control of any jail or prison, and knowingly permitting the imprisonment of such alleged fugitive slave therein, shall be subjected to the payment of a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.”
“The Michigan legislature has an opportunity to take its place alongside the heroic lawmakers who defied the federal government to protect the basic rights and liberties of blacks more than 100 years ago,” Maharrey said. “These men and women can take an important step to ensure the basic right to due process is preserved for all Michigan citizens. I hope they are up to the challenge.”
HB4138 was referred to the House Committee on Oversight where McMillan, the bill’s author, sits as committee chair. SB94 was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security.
ACTION ITEMS for Michigan
1. Contact members of the House Committee on Oversight and urge them to vote YES on this bill. Contact info is HERE
2. Contact members of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security. Contact info is HERE
3. Also contact your representative and ask him or her to support this bill. To find contact information for your representative, click HERE.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you live anywhere outside of Michigan, please contact your own legislators regarding anti-NDAA legislation. If none has been introduced in your state, you can email them The Liberty Preservation Act model legislation.
Track the status of NDAA nullification in states around the country HERE