With a few pen strokes, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took the first step in getting the Great Lakes State out of the indefinite detention business.

On Thursday, Snyder signed bill prohibiting any state agency in Michigan from cooperating with the U.S. military if it attempts to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen without due process.

SB094 bars any state agency, employee, agency of a political subdivision of the state and members of the Michigan National Guard from aiding “an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012, if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Michigan national guard in violation of the United States constitution, the state constitution of 1963, or any law of this state.”

The bill unanimously passed the Senate 37-0 last March and gained House approval 109-0 earlier this month.

Sen. Rick Jones (R – 24th) sponsored the bill. Rep. Tom McMillin (R – 45th), a vocal supporter for blocking state cooperation of indefinite detention, was instrumental in getting the bill through the House.

“Pushing back against the feds is important. Michigan now joins Virginia, California and Alaska. Congrats to all who helped over the last two years to make this happen – like Dennis Marburger, Justin Amash, Shane G Trejo, David A. Dudenhoefer, Bill Sage, Mike Maharrey and Tony DeMott. Thanks also to Lt. Gov. Brian Calley for helping me get it through the legislature and working with the governor’s office to ensure he and his legal staff understood the issue and was comfortable signing it,” McMillin said in a Facebook post.

Jones said the new law fits well into Michigan’s tradition of protecting basic due process.

“Historically, Michigan first asserted 10th Amendment rights in 1855 when we passed a law to block the Fugitive Slave Act. I thought of this great history as I pushed the bill to nullify the NDAA,” he said. “No US citizen should have to fear being thrown into jail or prison without charges. I got support from both sides of the political spectrum. With the governor’s signature Michigan states no local police, state police, sheriff or Michigan National Guard will assist the feds with holding a US citizen.”

By refusing to cooperate with provisions written into the NDAA, Michigan will make it much more difficult for the feds to indefinitely detain somebody in that state. The federal government almost always depends on state and local cooperation. This bill would strip that away. As Judge Andrew Napolitano said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here).

Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey called the bill a great first step, but noted more work remains in Michigan to fully nullify indefinite detention.

“This is a great step forward in protecting the basic due process rights of people in Michigan and gives activists there something to build on,” he said. “Moving forward, I would love to see the Michigan legislature expand the policy in two ways. First, I would like to see it include protection for all people, not just U.S. citizens. After all, every person has a right to basic due process, no matter who they are or where they are from. Second, I would like to see a bill expanding the ban on cooperation to any future federal law or regulation that purports to allow indefinite detention. No federal act can justify kidnapping. None.”

SB094 will serve as the first step and activists in the state will need to continue pressing the issue. By including a caveat – if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Michigan national guard in violation of the United States constitution, the state constitution of 1963, or any law of this state”  – the bill is not an express prohibition.  Rather, since no official determination has been made on such constitutionality as of yet, it leaves the decision of constitutionality to discretion. But, the new law does provide legal backing for those sheriffs, law enforcement officers, and other agencies and employees, who refuse to assist the federal government in such activities based on their own constitutional determination.  As Sheriff Richard Mack has taught around the country for years now, this is what should be done all the time already.  (visit the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association for more information)

The new law will create a climate for each local community in the state – counties, cities, towns, etc – to step up and get involved. To give the bill teeth, activists will need to take action at a local level – to press their local governments to pass legally-binding ordinances to give the new state law additional force. The local legislation would do the following:

a) Express full support for the new state policy to “refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within Michigan.”

b) Create an express prohibition on the use of any local government assets – funds, employees, and the like – to provide material support for or participate in any way with federal indefinite detention.

Once the state is blanketed with localities which have passed such measures, the practical effect would be even stronger than if SB94 had ordered them to do the same.  Reaching this point would mean that support for the effort would be well into the mainstream around the state, and that resolve to ensure the resistance continues to victory is likely much stronger.


To track the status of similar legislation in states around the country, visit this link

Click on your state and follow the recommended action steps to support.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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