Missouri state Senator Brian Nieves introduced legislation this month to ban his state from enforcing sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. These sections purport to give authority to the federal government to indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere – without charge or trial.
The legislation, titled the Missouri Liberty Preservation Act, declares the detention provisions in the NDAA “inimical to the liberty, security and well-being of the people of Missouri, and was adopted by the United States Congress in violation of the limits of federal power in the Constitution of the United States.”
It bans the state from participating in such actions, “The state of Missouri shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation” of those provisions. The bill further tasks the Missouri department of public safety with reporting on any attempts to enforce these provisions by agents of the federal government.
The bill also calls for misdemeanor criminal charges for any state or federal agents who attempt to enforce or assist in the enforcements of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.
If it passes this bill, Missouri would become the fifth state to take steps to nullify indefinite detention, joining Alaska, California, Michigan and Virginia. Those state have passed similar legislation in the last two years, but far more limited in scope. An additional eight states have legislation based on the Tenth Amendment Center’s model legislation, the Liberty Preservation Act.
TAC national communications director Mike Maharrey noted that limited actions in other states have paved the way for stronger legislation in Missouri. “Without someone taking a first step, no matter how small, it’s unlikely that any politician would be willing to take as strong a stand as Nieves is doing with his bill. While the four states with laws against indefinite detention have not nullified the federal act, they’ve taken an important step forward in showing people around the country that states do have a role to play. Then it’s up to people in other states, like Missouri, to kick it up a notch. That’s just what Nieves is doing with SB622.”
All of these states are following James Madison’s blueprint for stopping federal overreach. In Federalist 46, he argued that a “refusal to comply with officers of the Union” along with other actions at the state and local level would create a situation where the federal government would have an almost impossible time enforcing their acts. When several states join together and do the same, Madison said it would “present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”
Senate Bill 622 (SB622) was pre-filed by Nieves on Dec. 9 and will be taken up by the Missouri senate once the 2014 legislative session begins.
In Missouri: Take action to support SB622 HERE.
Other states: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.