Bill raises question about Virginia nullifying federal law

Posted at 12:07 AM, Mar 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-10 07:03:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - At the Virginia General Assembly, it’s not unusual to see democratic State Senator Don McEachin (D-Henrico), and Delegate Bob Marshall (R – Manassas) on opposite sides of an issue.

But, HB 1160 has brought together the left and the right.

"I certainly hope the Governor doesn't reject that bill,” said McEachin.

“I`ll tell you, if the Governor doesn`t sign this, he`s going to see a reaction like he`s never seen before, and this will be from the left, the right and the middle,” said Marshall in a telephone interview.

House Bill 1160 would forbid Virginia law enforcement officer and jail staff from assisting the feds in arrests that might detain someone indefinitely.

The bill is in response to the National Defense Authorization Act 2012, signed by President Obama late last year.

It’s designed to assist the war on terror.

But, the most controversial part of the law allows the feds to indefinitely detain suspected homegrown terrorists without charging them or putting them on trial. [POLL: Should Gov. McDonnell sign off on HB-1160?]

McEachin and Marshall think it’s government overreach.

“And no one should be in a position to take away those rights to hold us in prison indefinitely without any sort of notice," said McEachin.

It’s passed both the House of Delegates and the State Senate, and is now on Governor McDonell’s desk.  But, a spokesman for McDonnell says he is concerned the bill could negatively impact

the Joint Terrorism Task Force – a relationship between the feds, state and local law enforcement.

“They are concerned that this action could eventually have some negative impact you might have between the federal government and Virginia law enforcement in pursuing terrorists,” said  CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Hollsworth.

Marshall hand delivered a letter to the governor Friday, requesting he meet with Marshall and 5 other lawmakers to discuss the bill.

A spokesperson for the governor says he appreciates the request, and plans to review the legislation, and also determine how best to address those concerns.