HB558: call Hammen and every Delegate on the House Health & Govt.Ops Committee

UPDATE, 3/12: HB558 has unfortunately been voted down in committee.
See above.


Maryland flagThe “Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013” (HB 558) would prohibit “an agency of the State, a county of the State, an employee of the State or a county acting in an official capacity, or a member of the Maryland National Guard or the Maryland Defense Force, on official State duty, to knowingly aid an agency of the United States in the detention of a person in accordance with” the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA.

The bill is currently before the House Health and Government Operations Committee, where Chairman Peter Hammen decides whether it will be voted on by the full committee. And unless you can speak to him directly, the best way to convince him to do that is to join us in placing lots of phone calls to him and the rest of the committee — particularly Democrats, who are in the majority and may otherwise prefer not to advance a bill sponsored by Republican Delegate Don Dwyer.

cell-phone-tap1Here are the phone numbers for each of the committee members of the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee, starting with the chairman.  (The final four digits are also the extensions to specify if you call using the Maryland legislative 800 number 1-800-492-7122.)

Democratic members:

Republican members:

Say (or rephrase in the way that you would say it) at least the first three sentences of the message below.  The rest may be helpful talking points if you engage the staff person in a discussion.

Given the bill’s sponsorship by Republican Delegate Dwyer,  it may well be helpful when calling Democrats to emphasize that you are a Democratic / liberal / progressive voter if that is the case.

As a Maryland citizen [when calling a Democratic delegate’s office, and if true: and a Democrat / liberal /  progressive voter], I’m very concerned by the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. 

So I’m calling to urge Delegate _____ to support scheduling a vote in the Health and Government Operations Committee on HB558, the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013.

I also urge ___ to vote in support of the bill — thank you!

[Why opposed to NDAA]: The indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA 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.

[Where similar bills have passed]: Resolutions opposing the NDAA have been passed by city councils from Fairfax, California to Takoma Park, Maryland, and state legislatures from Montana to Virginia.

[What HB558 will do]: 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.

Call as many delegates as you can — particularly Democratic delegates, and very particularly Chairman Hammen. Please feel free to let us know what you learn in these conversations, either as a comment to this post or in an email to mococivilrights@gmail.com. Thanks!

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