As readers of this blog know, a bill titled “Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013” (HB558) has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly; if enacted, it would prohibit Maryland officials from cooperating with the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. [Read more about the issue here.]
This is an important bill, but it has an uncertain future, so help is needed in getting it over the first hurdle — favorably voting it out of the House Health and Government Operations Committee.
Accordingly, MCCRC activists are now circulating a letter — addressed to the chairman of the Maryland House Health and Government Affairs Committee — to Maryland peace, justice, civil rights, and civil liberties organizations for endorsement, urging just that.
The deadline for joining the letter — published below — is March 8. If the bill passes the committee, we’ll revise this letter and send it to all members of the House asking them to vote in favor of the bill, then hopefully another revision to send it to members of the Senate. We’ll include endorsing organizations’ names on all versions of the letter.
Delegate Peter A. Hammen
241 House Office Building
6 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Delegate Hammen,
The undersigned organizations from Maryland representing peace, faith, civil and immigrant rights, and other organizations urge you to schedule a vote in the Health and Government Operations Committee on HB558, the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013. In addition, we urge you to vote in support of the bill.
We are deeply concerned by the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, which allow the military to arrest, indefinitely detain, and deny a trial or day in court to anyone—even US citizens—accused of a “belligerent act,” or any terror-related offense. The NDAA subjects these individuals to arbitrary detention without trial, denying the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one’s accusers. The NDAA also endangers First and Fourth Amendment protections, because the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of “material support for terrorism” to include crimes of speech and association even by defendants who neither committed nor ever intended to support violence.
Resolutions opposing the NDAA have been passed by city councils from Fairfax, California to Takoma Park, Maryland, and state legislatures from Montana to Virginia.
Maryland state and county law enforcement and National Guard personnel should not be a party to unconstitutional violations of due process, and by passing the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act, the state of Maryland makes clear that they will not.
Individuals are encouraged to send the same letter on their own behalf.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your organization’s endorsement; you can also use the comment area below to begin that process. We hope to publish, with permission, additional selected organizational statements opposing indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, and urging the Maryland legislature to vote on HB558.