Press Releases

Delegate Bob Marshall’s Letter to Colleagues on HB1160

Attention: Editors, News Directors and Reporters

FYI, below is a letter Delegate Bob Marshall (R., Manassas) distributed Thursday (March 1) evening to his colleagues in the Virginia House of Delegates regarding his pending HB 1160 (Unlawful detention of U.S. citizens).  The legislation is scheduled for final House consideration Friday (March 2).

Also FYI, below is the news release Marshall issued Tuesday (Feb. 28) after the Virginia State Senate, on a 38-1 roll call vote, passed HB 1160 with a clarifying amendment.

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Colleagues —

House consideration of HB 1160 (Unlawful detention of U.S. citizens) was put over until tomorrow [Friday, March 2].  I urge the House to adopt the Senate amendment, which does all that the House bill did, but with fewer words.

I drafted the original bill.  Then I worked with Delegate Albo in developing the House language, and worked with Senator Petersen in developing the Senate language.  In all of its versions, the bill has always had the same core — banning the Commonwealth, its agencies, and its subdivisions from aiding the federal government in detaining Virginia citizens under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”).  (The original house bill, and the bill as amended in the Senate, appear below.)

There is reason to believe that our effort in Virginia and many other such efforts in other states are having an effect.  Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about this foolish provision of federal law — that had been buried in a 900-plus page bill.  Senators Feinstein and Paul and others have introduced a bill to undo this provision, and there is a similar bill in the House, but we cannot assume either will be enacted.  It remains important for the General Assembly to take a stand and pass this bill.

Along the way I have been told that the bill was too short, then too long, now too short again.  I was told it was too broad, and then told it was too narrow.  Some said it was not needed since the power has not been abused — but the law was just signed December 31.  Some said that it was not needed since President Obama said he would not use this authority — but why should any President be given such power.  Actually, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I think it is in the middle — “just right.”  Here’s why.

Nothing of substance has changed in my bill.  First, the surplus language at the end of the House bill (underlined below) was deleted, as it is the General Assembly that has determined that cooperation with detaining Virginians under NDAA is wrong — the decision would not be left to others.

Second, the bill applies to any “agency” of Virginia government, state, county, or local.  This triggers the definitions contained in section 8.01-385 and by its terms “agency” includes “Departments,” which includes the Department of Military Affairs, which is comprised of the Virginia Army National Guard and the Virginia Air National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force.  (Of course, if the National Guard is called up, it is in “actual service” of the federal government, and takes on a new status and is removed from the control of the Governor under Virginia and Federal law.  A Virginia law cannot affect what the National Guard members do while in actual federal service.)

Third, this bill prohibits state aid to any agency of the United States.  That includes, but is not limited to the Armed Forces of the United States — which was the subject of NDAA.

Fourth, since the terms of NDAA deal with detention, this bill is limited to not aiding in the “detention” of Virginians.  Concerns were raised about prohibiting involvement with “investigations,” as those could be valid reasons to investigate under other laws.  There was no reason to prohibit involvement with “prosecutions,” as the precise problem was that the federal government now claims the power to incarcerate indefinitely without commencing any prosecution.

The bill is supported by groups from the Virginia ACLU to Gun Owners of America.  Among the groups supporting this bill is the Japanese American Citizens League which sent a letter to each Senator telling them the story of the terrible detention of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II as “suspected enemy aliens.”  The letter concludes “Virginia has the opportunity to stand up to an unjust application of Congressional authority.  The American people need somebody to stand up against this injustice.  HB 1160 is a tool that does just that; it stands up for the American people by respecting the basic principles of the Constitution.”

This bill does all that Virginia can do to keep from participating in improper actions of the federal government.  It passed not just bi-partisan majorities, but by truly overwhelming margins in the House and Senate.  There is no real dispute as to substance.  I urge my colleagues to adopt the Senate amendments.

- Bob Marshall

February 14, 2012 – Passed in the House (96-Y, 4-N)

§ 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of any citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) if such aid would place any state agency, political subdivision, employee of such state agency or political subdivision, or aforementioned member of the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, and provision of the Code of Virginia, any act of the General Assembly, or any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code.

February 28, 2012 – Passed Senate with Amendment (39-Y, 1-N)

§ 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or employee of same acting in his official capacity, shall aid an agency of the United States in the unlawful detention of any United States citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-81, § 1021).

Delegate Bob Marshall’s contact information:

Mobile telephone – (703) 853-4213

Capitol telephone – (804) 698-1013 (during General Assembly sessions)


38-1 Roll Call Vote

STATE SENATE PASSES MARSHALL’S HB 1160 WITH 38-1 BIPARTISAN VOTE

Now Legislation Returns to House of Delegates for Approval of Clarifying Amendment

 

RICHMOND, Feb. 28 – Delegate Bob Marshall said today that he is “deeply gratified” that the Virginia State Senate has passed his bill to protect Virginians from having to participate in the unconstitutional detention of United States citizens by federal authorities.

“I am hopeful that Governor McDonnell will sign this bill,” Marshall (R., Manassas), and that this law will provide an important protection for Virginians against improper federal action.  Moreover, it is my hope that other states will follow Virginia in responding to Washington, D.C.’s latest overreach, and that Congress will re-think this unconstitutional action.”

The Senate passed Delegate Bob Marshall’s HB 1160 to bar Virginia from assisting the federal government in the unlawful detention of United States citizens under an obscure provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress.

The Senate approved Marshall’s bill today by a 38-1 roll call vote.  It now must be returned to the Virginia House of Delegates for its approval of the clarifying Senate amendment, which vote probably will come tomorrow or Thursday.  The House passed the original bill on Feb. 4 by an overwhelming 96-4 roll call vote.

“This action is a repudiation of the unlawful action of Congress,” Marshall said after the Senate vote.  “The Constitution is to be followed, not abused.  The people of Virginia have spoken through their elected representatives in the General Assembly in rejecting a federal law purportedly giving the military the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without charges, counsel, or trial.

“I am deeply gratified that today the Virginia State Senate passed my bill HB 1160 by the overwhelming vote of 38-1.  The near-unanimous Senate vote follows passage of HB 1160 in the House of Delegates by a vote of 96-4.  Almost all Republicans and Democrats joined together in a great bipartisan effort to tell the Federal Government that these are powers that no President should be entrusted with.

The House vote occurred Feb. 4.  By a 20-20 tie vote, HB 1160 survived a Senate motion yesterday to send it back to its Courts of Justice Committee

“Twenty-four hours after the Virginia State Senate nearly killed my bill, thousands of Virginians learned that our liberties were on the line, and they made their views known.  Groups from the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union to Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights, Virginia Libertarians, DownsizeDC.org, various Tea Party groups, and Campaign for Liberty, and many others, all publicly endorsed HB 1160.  The bipartisan nature of the vote today shows that Virginians are joining together to defend their liberties.”

“I want to thank my friend and colleague Senator Chap Petersen (D, Fairfax) for working with me on a clarifying amendment that I wholeheartedly supported, and for the forceful arguments offered on the floor by both State Sen. Dick Black (R, Leesburg) and State Sen. Richard Stewart (R, Montross).”

Peterson responded: “The unlawful detention of United States citizens is wrong, and here in the Commonwealth we will never assist in the detention of others, no matter the state of war that we may be in, or no matter the emergency.  The rule of law must persist in our nation, regardless of circumstances, or we shall fail in our commitment to justice.”

Marshall said the Senate-amended bill “makes it crystal clear that no one in the Virginia government ‘shall aid an agency of the United States in the unlawful detention of any United States citizen’ under the National Defense Authorization Act.

“Truly, such detentions would be unlawful just as the bill states,” Marshall said.

“I particularly want to thank the Japanese American Citizens League, which sent a letter to each senator telling them the story of the terrible detention of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II as ‘suspected enemy aliens.’  The letter concludes: “Virginia has the opportunity to stand up to an unjust application of Congressional authority.  The American people need somebody to stand up against this injustice.  HB 1160 is a tool that does just that; it stands up for the American people by respecting the basic principles of the Constitution.”  I am proud to stand with these patriotic Americans.”

The Senate’s clarifying amendment reads: “Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or employee of same acting in his official capacity, shall aid an agency of the United States in the unlawful detention of any United States citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. §1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-81, § 1021).”

A House vote is expected tomorrow or Thursday.

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Delegate Bob Marshall’s contact information:

Mobile telephone – (703) 853-4213

Capitol telephone – (804) 698-1013 (during General Assembly sessions)

E-mail addresses – delegatebob@gmail.com and bob@delegatebob.com

www.delegatebob.com

www.youtube.com/user/delegatebobmarshall

www.twitter.com/RobertGMarshall

www.facebook.com/delegatebob