INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would not allow state and local law enforcement to aid federal officials with indefinite detentions passed its first hurdle this week when approved unanimously by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee.
The measure was targeted as a provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the federal government to detain individuals deemed to be terrorism suspects, including those who are U.S. citizens that are within national borders.
Senate Corrections Chairman Mike Young, a Republican, said assuming the bill passes after a third and final reading, it will go to the Statehouse for approval.
“I think that the over-riding concern of the members of the committee was that our country has laws,” Young said. “And one basic concept is that the government can’t do something to you without having due process of the judicial system — to be able to afford the right to get an attorney, to know what the charges are that are laid against you, to appear before a judge, and to make a case. And then to have a jury of your peers say whether or not you broke the law.”
Young reiterated that the decision does not take away the rights of the federal government to still carry out the elements of the NDAA that they so choose, but simply prohibits state and local authorities from aiding them. In order for it to become law, Gov. Mike Pence will have to sign the bill.
“Under indefinite detention or any other action by the government that’d take away those due process rights is a fear for us, because that means any citizen could disappear and we don’t know what’s going on,” Young said.
Droves of supporters from both the Tea Party and Occupy movement side showed up in congruence with the same belief. James Kerner, president of the Indiana People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA), expressed adulation that sides that normally do not come together did, but said the victory is only part of the fight.