Today, the Virginia legislature once again approved House Bill 1160 (HB1160), what many refer to as the NDAA Nullification Act. The support was overwhelming, again. In the House today the vote was 89-7 and the Senate concurred a few hours later, 36-1.
The bill “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.”
According to an inside report, bill sponsor Delegate Bob Marshall spoke twice in support of the bill on the House floor today. Delegate Barbara Comstock (a long-time Patriot Act supporter) invoked Michael Chertoff and others as high government officials opposing HB 1160. Basically, she said state legislators have no business questioning the federal government.
Marshall responded with citations to a CRS report demonstrating the vagueness of the law, and its effort to circumvent the Treason Clause. He also noted that state legislators are to be watchdogs against the Federal Government.
In the Senate today, Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun) and Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) spoke in favor before the final vote.
THE FULL STORY
HB1160 originally passed the Virginia house in February by a vote of 96-4. It went to the Senate where opponents tried to hold it over until next year, effectively killing it. The vote was a tie- and failed. In two short days, thousands of grassroots activists contacted their Senators to support the bill and the next vote, taken quickly, was a different story – 39-1.
With minor amendments, the bill needed to go back to the House for approval. A number of parliamentary maneuvers were used to stall and kill the bill. Various votes to delay (“pass by”) actual approval were held. Eventually, the House rejected the Senate amendments and the bill was sent back to the Senate for another consideration.
Again, the grassroots got on board – and activists from groups across the political spectrum called and emailed their Senators to move the bill forward. The Senate, after a few days of jousting, “receded” from their original amendment by a vote of 37-1 in March, effectively passing the original House bill from the previous month.
HB1160 then went off to the Governor’s desk. Inside sources had been telling us at the Tenth Amendment Center that Governor Bob McDonnell did not want to sign this bill. Vetoing would certainly keep him in a good place with the establishment who supports NDAA detentions, but would also be a slap in the face of a huge portion of his own state’s population, considering the massive outpouring of support from the people there.
McDonnell had until mid April to sign or veto the bill. On the very last day, after some strong behind-the-scenes work by supporters and sponsors, the Governor announced that he recommended some minor amendments – and he would support that version of HB1160.
The bill’s sponsor, Bob Marshall, released the following statement:
Over the past few weeks, Governor McDonnell has heard from a number of Virginians regarding House Bill 1160, sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall. During the consideration of this legislation and since its passage, he has expressed both the shared concern that Virginia does not participate in the unconstitutional detention of U.S. citizens and the desire that this legislation does not impact legitimate law enforcement activities.
Preserving public safety is the foremost priority of any government. Every day, state and local law enforcement personnel work together and work with the federal government to keep Virginians safe by fighting crime, responding to emergencies, and combating terrorism. The governor believes we must encourage and promote these collaborative efforts while ensuring that core constitutional principles enjoyed by all U.S. citizens are respected. He believes these standards are expected by all Virginians and want to take appropriate steps to reaffirm that position. In the governor’s view, this legislation now accomplishes that goal.
Since the legislation’s passage, staff has worked with the patron to come up with amendments that will achieve the goal of not supporting unconstitutional detentions while preserving the ability of law enforcement and our state defense forces to carry out their responsibilities. The amendments Governor McDonnell sent down achieve those goals, and Delegate Marshall has expressed his support for them. The governor hopes the General Assembly will support them, as well.
The bill is now expected to be promptly signed by Governor McDonnell.
May the other states now follow the lead taken today by Virginia.
UPDATE – according to sponsor Bob Marshall, because the legislature passed the bill as recommended by the Governor, a signature is not required. HB1160 becomes law on July 1st.
SIC SEMPER TYRANIS, BABY.
LINK to the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.