OLYMPIA, Wash. (April 3, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Washington state House would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

Introduced by Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) along with seven bipartisan co-sponsors on March 20, House Bill 2199 (HB2199) would prohibit any state or local official, or employee, including members of the Washington National Guard, or any corporation doing business on behalf of the state from cooperating “with an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the United States of America by the armed forces of the United States of America.”

There are several exceptions listed to this prohibition in HB2199. They are as follows:

(a) an investigation or detainment by the United States coast guard when it is not operating as a service in the navy,

(b) an investigation or detainment by National Guard units or state defense forces while under the authority of the governor of the state of Washington, or

(c) an internal investigation or detainment by the armed forces of the United States of America of active duty members of the armed forces of the United States of America.

Aside from these exceptions, any and all compliance with the indefinite detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA would be forbidden, and punishable by a Class C felony.

The bill not only applies substantive consequences to state-level officials for disobeying the bill, but it also extends those consequences to military personnel as well. Military personnel would be charged with a Class C felony if they refused to comply with the provisions of HB2199. The same rules and exceptions would apply to them as they would to state-level officials.

If passed, the bill would take effect immediately. A similar measure, SB5742 was introduced this year but failed to receive a committee hearing and is effectively dead. HB2199 gives Washington residents a second chance to preserve their rights, as written in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.

Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA purport to empower the federal government to essentially kidnap people within the United States and hold them indefinitely without trial, or even formal charges. Since the feds always depend on state and their resources to assist in with their actions, HB2199 would likely hinder any attempts at indefinite detention in Washington.

“It may seem radical to criminalize actions of U.S. military personnel. But some northern states did essentially the same thing in an attempt to stop fugitive slave rendition in the 1850s,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “It sounds extreme until you consider what the feds are claiming the authority to do – put a bag over your head and lock you up for as long as they want without trial or even charges. That’s the extreme here. Trying to stop it is a rational response.”

Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) introduced the similar bill in the Senate earlier this year. The specter of indefinite detention is quite personal to him. The U.S. government detained his family in a detention camp during World War II for the “crime” of being Japanese.

“While they were constructing the camp, my family lived in horse stalls in the stables at the Puyallup Fairgrounds,” he said. “They were all U.S. citizens.”

The experience of Hasegawa’s family illustrates the very real threat of indefinite detention,” Maharrey said. “It not only can happen here – it has!”

Language in HB2199 strongly condemns treating residents of the United States as if they were subjects of a military occupation.

Policing the citizenry of the United States of America by the armed forces of the United States, as purportedly authorized by the 2012 NDAA, is contrary to the fundamental principles of our republic, and is generally repugnant to a free society.

The bill must pass through the House Public Safety Committee before it can receive a full vote in the state House.


If you live in Washington, follow all the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK.

If you live in another state, take action to stop indefinite detention HERE.