On January 15, 2015, Rep. Lori Saine, introduced a bill that would make up the first steps to stop indefinite detention without due process under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act in the state of Colorado.

HB 1114 states would prohibit any state cooperation with federal attempts to indefinitely detain American citizens within the  borders of Colorado.

“Except as described in subsection (2) of this section, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, an entity described in paragraph (b) of this subsection (1) shall not provide aid to an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 or 1022 of the federal “National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2012”, H.R. 1540, PUB.L. 112-81, as amended, or any substantial similar successor provision of federal law if such aid would place the entity in violation of any provision of the United States Constitution, the Colorado Constitution, or any law of this state.

By refusing to cooperate with provisions written into the NDAA, Colorado 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.

But while the bill is a good first step that can be built on, it will require further action.

By including the language – “if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Colorado 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 constitutionality as of yet, it leaves the decision of constitutionality to discretion. The legislature would need to take further action to specify exactly what actions constitute a violation of the law.

HB1114 will serve as the first step and activists in the state but will need to continue pressing the issue. A great example of how to strengthen future bills like this include legislation similar to this bill introduced this year from Virginia. Virginia is expanding on their previous legislation by stopping cooperation agreements if the feds act on NDAA Section 1021 and 1022.

That is not all. HB1114 creates 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 Colorado.”

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 HB1114 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.


In Colorado, to support this bill, follow all the action steps at THIS LINK

All Other states, push back against indefinite detention powers at this link.


Kelli Sladick