Montana House Votes 97-1 to approve anti-NDAA billWednesday, February 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm by Guest Blogger
The following commentary was written by Nick Sibilla, a former BORDC Summer of 2012 intern.
UPDATE: Since this piece was published, the Montana legislature has updated the official vote count as 98-0.
In a huge win for the Bill of Rights, the Montana House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to ban indefinite detention in Montana by a vote of 97 to 1. Introduced by state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, HB 522 would also “prohibit state cooperation with federal officials” who try to enforce the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The lone no vote was cast by Democrat Bob Mehlhoff. HB 522 previously passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously. The bill now heads to the state senate for approval.
During the second reading of the bill on Tuesday, Schwaderer noted that his bill would have a real effect on defending the right to due process in Big Sky Country. This is “not a letter to Santa Claus,” he quipped. The freshman representative also cited Printz v. U.S., a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that state officials could not be commandeered by the federal government. Indeed, since HB 522 prevents state officials from cooperating with federal agents, there is no legal conflict. After all, as Schwaderer noted, “there is no legal note attached to this bill.”
Montana joins a growing trend of both red and blue states working to defend due process. So far, Hawaii and Virginia have passed anti-NDAA legislation, while the House of Representatives in Rhode Island and Michigan have overwhelmingly voted to support stopping indefinite detention. Just yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously against the NDAA, making it the 18th city to do so. On top of that, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has toolkits and model resolutions for activists to defend liberty and human rights in their local communities.