Contact: Mike Maharrey
For Immediate Release:April 18, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. – On Wednesday, the Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that forbids state agencies from cooperating with any federal attempt to exercise the indefinite detention without due process provisions written into sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act.
HB1160 “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”
The legislature previously passed HB1160 and forwarded it to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his signature. Last week, the governor agreed to sign the bill with a minor amendment. On Wednesday, the House of Delegates passed the amended version of the legislation 89-7. Just hours later, the Senate concurred by a 36-1 vote.
Bill sponsor Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) says that since the legislature passed HB1160 as recommended by the governor, it does not require a signature and will become law effective July 1, 2012.
Several states recently passed resolutions condemning NDAA indefinite detention, but Virginia becomes the first state to pass a law refusing compliance with sections 1021 and 1022.
“In the 1850s, northern states felt that habeas corpus was so important that they passed laws rejecting the federal fugitive slave act. The bill passed in Massachusetts was so effective, not one single runaway slave was returned south from that state. Today, Virginia joins in this great American tradition,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “When the federal government passes unconstitutional so-called laws so destructive to liberty – it’s the people and the states that will stand up and say, ‘NO!’ May the other states now follow the lead taken today by Virginia.”
The new law stops short of an express prohibition on all government agencies and employees within the state, but creates a powerful climate for follow up activity and legislation on a local level to give HB1160 the legal force it needs to have a practical impact moving forward. The prohibitory language of the bill reads:
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 knowingly aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the 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. 112-81, § 1021) if such aid would knowingly 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, any provision of the Code of Virginia, any act of the General Assembly, or any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code.
By including a caveat at the end of this section – if such aid would knowingly… – the bill is not an express prohibition on all agencies, political subdivisions, and employees, including the Virginia National Guard. Rather, since no official determination has been made on such constitutionality as of yet, it leave