Governor hesitant to sign HB-1160

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 09, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - In a General Assembly session that's been riddled with tense debates over contentious social issues, Republicans and Democrats have somewhat unexpectedly joined forces on at least one subject.

Both sides came together to nearly unanimously support House Bill-1160.

The measure prohibits state and local officers from enforcing a provision of the 2012 Federal National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the arrest and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without charges or trial.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, Governor Bob McDonnell's office has confirmed he has reservations about the bill, saying he's concerned about the impact is could have on Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

"What the Governor is worried about is that this could prevent the kind of collaboration and cooperation that you might need between the federal authorities and the state authorities if they're pursuing a particular kind of terrorist plot or act that could occur in Virginia," said CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth.

But not everyone believes McDonnell's reasoning for pushing back against the bill. Some, including Bob Marshall, believe the governor has other reasons for not wanting to see it passed.

Holsworth said some suspect it has something to do with McDonnell's hopes for becoming Mitt Romney's running mate if he wins the G.O.P. presidential nomination.

"There certainly are political implications here, although I'm not quite sure that's the Governor's motivation," Holsworth said. "Mitt Romney does support [the National Defense Authorization Act]...My guess is that we're going to see political implications here, but we have to take the Governor at his word."

But it's not just McDonnell whose career the Bill could impact. Holsworth said it could play a role in Virginia's U.S. Senate race.

"Bob Marshall, chief patron of the bill, is a candidate for U.S. Senate in the republican primary versus [Former Governor] George Allen and [Tea Party Candidate] Jamie Radtke," Holsworth said. "I think what we're going to see over the next couple of days are people going to former Senator Allen and saying where do you stand on this one as well."