January 12, 2013
As we reported yesterday, P.A.N.D.A. founder Dan Johnson, contacted me late Thursday night. He alerted me to a new bill that had been submitted a few weeks ago. I then contacted Heather Cottner, who is P.A.N.D.A.’s new State Coordinator for Missouri, to get further details and to see what her strategy was to get this legislation signed into law.
The bill, which at the time of this writing has no scheduled hearing, was sponsored by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick and cosponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller and Rep. Paul Curtman. At its most basic level House Bill 57 (HB 57), hinges on the 10th amendment and state’s rights. The sponsors of this bill aim to reestablish Missouri’s state rights over the federal government and to outlaw indefinite detention of its citizens.
It also slaps the executive branch right in the face by nullifying 50 USC Section 1541 (concerning the War Powers Resolution) that illegally gives the president power to declare war over Congress. The Unlawful Detention of Citizens Bill (i.e. MO HB-57) states:
“Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no state agency, political subdivision, employee of such State agency or political subdivision acting in his or her official capacity, or member of the Missouri National Guard on officials state duty, shall knowingly aid an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any citizen pursuant to 50 USC Section 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 or any subsequent provisions of law.”
The evolution within the NDAA concerning indefinite detention of US citizens can be slightly confusing. The first thing a reader will notice is that the indefinite detention subsection from fiscal year 2012 has moved from 1021 to 1031 of fiscal year 2013. Another issue to note is the number of amendments that have been proposed or applied to this particular section. One of the first attempts was the Smith-Amash Amendment. Then the Feinstein-Lee Amendment was introduced, which was later replaced by the request of Sen. John McCain with the Gohmert Amendment. A lot of these amendments seek to clarify vague language and “seemingly” uphold constitutional rights. But like with any legislation, there are always loopholes which the ACLU and others have pointed out.
Due to the above issues, people within and outside of government, that seek to retain some semblance of their civil rights have moved to actions on the state level. This brings us back to the organization P.A.N.D.A. and their involvement in helping Missouri representatives get the support they need to pass this bill.
When I talked to Cottner last night she was optimistic but added she needs a lot of support and volunteers to get this done. She also warned that the citizens of Missouri only have five months (until May) to get this bill passed. The first thing that she proposed was to form a coalition for purposes of laying out an orderly plan and to conduct training sessions. Cottner explained that distance would not be an issue because they will be utilizing teleconference calls to reach people all over the state.
She also discussed that there will be many levels of opportunities for people to engage in activism everything from simple phone calls to going to the Missouri state capital in Jefferson City. We also talked about a very exciting strategy that she hopes will get the attention of local politicians. At this time I cannot disclose this plan but I can tell you that they will remember who P.A.N.D.A. is and what they stand for.
As this story develops and P.A.N.D.A. coordinates locals, we will be here to give you up-to-date coverage. If you would like to learn more about P.A.N.D.A. please go to www.pandaunite.org or if you are ready to get involved here in Missouri please call Heather Cottner at (314) 803-2364. Alternatively you can contact me via email Media@tyrannywatch.org and I will plug you in with the right people. For up-to-date coverage on the NDAA and indefinite detention please consider “ liking” P.A.N.D.A. and Tyranny Watch on Facebook or “following” us on Twitter.