If you’re one of the many longtime readers of my website you’ll recall that last summer I did the first of what I’m envisioning as a continuing look at the voting records of those who Free Staters elected to represent them in the General Assembly. That actually covered three different sessions in 2007 and 2008. (The pages are still there, under “internal links”.)
Needless to say, the 2009 session will be no different but I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t have a lot of votes to discuss and rate based on my platform of fiscal conservatism and having government stay out of our lives as much as it can.
But while there was some noise about the budget – and certainly there will be a fair share of amendments to consider in selecting a reasonable number of votes to ponder – this session has brought a number of doozies in the personal freedom department.
Let’s take for example the ban on texting while driving. First of all, let me say that I understand trying to text and drive at the same time doesn’t work very well. However, what I can’t figure out is how anyone with half a brain can’t come to the same conclusion and just not do it (I’m lucky if I can text while sitting still and I have a QWERTY keyboard on my cell phone.) Nope, we have to have the nanny state of Maryland come in and give the law enforcement officers another reason to stop drivers, even for READING text messages.
Another traffic law some wanted enforced by Big Brother is speeding, as yet another attempt to fatten local and state coffers by installing speed cameras in more areas came under debate. What, the plainclothes SUV cruisers aren’t good enough?
And then we have the environmental do-gooders who are trying to price those of us with septic systems out of house and home by installing nitrogen reduction systems as part of the package. It sounds like a good idea until one works out the financial implications to either the homeowner (if they pay for it) or state (if financial assistance is granted). Eventually I think the goal is to either have everyone piped into a central wastewater treatment plant (at a cost of billions) or make them move to a place which already is, leaving rural areas as wide swaths of green space. Yet the Bay won’t ever be as pristine as the radical environmentalists wish – at least until we’re not around to pollute it.
Besides the budget, the largest controversy in this year’s session seems to be the revised protocol for applying the death penalty. It was a “compromise” measure where none needed to be, making it all but impossible to place someone on death row short of a confession. If a murderer can eliminate the DNA and video evidence that he did the crime, ten thousand eyewitnesses couldn’t get him executed.
Finally, while this didn’t involve a vote, the Department of Legislative Services decided that the cure to its virus and malware ills was to deny legislators access to Facebook and Myspace. Eventually the DLS relented on the Facebook ban but still one has to wonder what other sites could be blocked. Perhaps a site that rates each legislator and in most cases not too kindly may be high on the list.
It’s a good test for those legislators who work there, let’s have a comment on this post. Maybe I should make it a goal to get myself blocked on the basis of content – that is, content the majority doesn’t agree with because I call absolute corruption in pursuit of absolute power as I see it.