On Thursday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB167 into law. Of course, that bill may be sent to referendum if enough signatures are applied to a petition seeking the vote of the people, and Delegate Neil Parrott is leading that effort.
Here’s what he had to say about the signing.
(On Thursday) Governor O’Malley signed into law SB 167, known as the Maryland Dream Act, that will provide in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens.
MDPetitions.com, under the leadership of Delegates Neil Parrott and Pat McDonough, has launched a petition drive to bring the bill to referendum in the November 2012 elections.
Delegate Parrott, Chairman, indicated that “It’s no surprise that Gov. O’Malley signed this legislation. The people of Maryland anticipated this and that is why people across the state are going to www.mdpetitions.com to sign the petition so we can bring this bill to referendum.”
Delegate Pat McDonough, Honorary Chairperson of the Petition Drive stated, “Taxpayers are wasting millions educating someone who cannot and will not be hired legally. Politicians like Governor O’Malley have transformed Maryland into a ‘sanctuary state’ by becoming a Disneyland for illegal immigrants, attracting hundreds of thousands of them, and costing taxpayers about 2 billion dollars. This law will only make things worse.”
Delegate Parrott noted that “this bill barely passed during the night on the last day of the session despite Bi-partisan opposition to the bill. Given the choice, I believe Marylanders will reject this legislation outright.”
The outpouring of support for our petition drive should serve as notice to Governor O’Malley and the legislators in Annapolis that Marylanders are fed up with the rampant abuse of our hard earned tax dollars.
Certainly I’m as fed up with “rampant abuse of our hard earned tax dollars” and I was happy to place my John Hancock on the petition. And I also think Alex Mooney was right when he commented at the state GOP convention that “we need to use that petition to referendum more often.” Just wait until the Special Session, and the tax increases we’re sure to see.
Of course, much of that momentum will depend on how this particular petition drive goes – if it’s a success, then people will be emboldened to use the referendum route to overrule O’Malley and the Democrats in the General Assembly more often. But the last attempt to petition a bad bill into referendum (the speed camera law) failed when the organizers came up short at the 1/3 barrier in May 2009.
Obviously there will be a lot on the ballot next November, as the general election in Maryland only comes once every two years and there’s a long list of items which the General Assembly sends to the voters for final ratification. Three items were placed before voters in 2010, two in 2008, and four in 2006.
But according to this piece by Ann Marimow in the Washington Post, the last petition drive to succeed in making it to the ballot came two decades ago, and it lost at the polls. Insofar as this drive is concerned, the effect on the 2012 election will be interesting should it succeed – with Barack Obama a prohibitive favorite in the state, will downballot turnout determine the fate of the referendum? Also, since the ballot question could pit one minority against another, how will that shake out?
Perhaps one reason these drives tend to fizzle out is the lengthy timeframe between the referendum and the election. If the petition effort succeeds we’ll have 17 months before voters will decide. In many cases where the ballot question is determined by the General Assembly this doesn’t seem to matter, as most Constitutional amendments placed before voters pass handily. But this will be different and there’s a potential of legal wrangling before the voters get to decide whether to rescind the law.
Passing the bill in its fourth try (2007, 2008, and 2009 – notice they didn’t go for this in the election year of 2010 knowing it would be a hot-button issue) was ill-advised, so Maryland voters should get a crack at this. Some may argue that the referendum shouldn’t go through because it would bring more Latinos to the polls and they’ll both vote against the referendum and punish Republican candidates. But I believe this will help GOP turnout in a state that’s generally written off by the national GOP and maybe give the Republican nominee an outside chance of winning.
So if you get the chance, sign the petition. Let’s show the General Assembly and Martin O’Malley who’s in control of this state.