State Representatives Jim Butler (R – Oakwood) and Ron Young (R – Leroy Township) have introduced House Bill 354 to address a law passed by Congress and signed by the President that allows the federal government to arrest and endlessly imprison, without trial, any American citizen merely by alleging the citizen aided terrorism. Specifically, the bill addresses a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, which states, “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons pending disposition under the law of war.”

House Bill 354 states that no state resources shall be used to aid the federal government in indefinitely detaining any person in this state. Further, it prevents state and local law enforcement officials from assisting the United States military in any investigation, prosecution, or detention that may deprive residents of Ohio to the right to trial if imprisoned.

“At this time of year when we come together to give thanks, hopefully we all remember to reflect on the rights and freedoms for which so many Americans have fought and sacrificed. One of the most fundamental of those freedoms is that our government cannot lock you in prison without first proving your guilt at trial before a jury of your peers,” said Representative Butler. “While the Bush and Obama administrations promised not to use the power to indefinitely jail someone without trial, it begs the question ‘Why did both administrations fight so doggedly for it?’. These dangerous provisions of the NDAA have the potential to be used for tyranny by a future president and are patently unconstitutional.”

“I am extremely proud of our American heritage and the protections afforded to us in our Constitution as citizens of this great country,” said Representative Young. “However, the actions our government has taken in the NDAA call into question the very rights and freedoms that we all hold so dear. If government bureaucracies and enforcement arms have to power to indefinitely detain and imprison U.S. citizens without filing formal charges, then all of our freedoms and all of our rights are on the chopping block. These unconstitutional and dictatorial provisions of the NDAA must be resisted with all the energy and power of the State of Ohio.”

House Bill 354 will be referred to a standing committee in the House of Representatives in the near future. Representatives Butler and Young have also introduced House Concurrent Resolution 41, which urges the Ohio Attorney General to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of certain sections of the NDAA of 2012.

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