It really wasn’t noticed because not many people made a big enough deal of it, but for the third time in two years a referendum petition drive failed to meet the initial hurdle of gathering about 18,500 signatures by May 31. MDPetitions.com could not get enough interest in repealing the “bathroom bill,” formally known as the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014. Thus it will take effect October 1, and the first abuse of the new law and resulting confrontation will probably take place by the 3rd of that month.
MDPetitions.com has now struck out on both the transgender bill and an effort to overturn a bill terminating the death penalty which passed in 2013. A separate group, Free State Petitions, attempted to petition an onerous gun control measure to referendum last year, but also fell short.
In this year’s version, there was a late push to gather enough signatures – netting about 6,000 – but it fell short with 17,575, according to Delegate Neil Parrott, who heads MDPetitions.com.
So many people did so much and we are very grateful for your enthusiastic support. It is difficult to come this close and then fall short, and yet we know that it was only through this effort that people became aware of the effects of this bill. The press certainly was not spreading the word. YOU did that.
Our goal at Mdpetitions.com is to listen to you and to give you a voice in your government. People overwhelmingly asked us to petition the “Bathroom Bill”, and we did. Most people did not even know about the bill, let alone how it will impact our safety and privacy. However, when people heard about this issue, the most common response was, “Seriously?” … and they were very willing to sign. Our biggest disappointment is that word spread too slowly to make this first deadline.
In looking at county-by-county totals, it’s apparent the Eastern Shore didn’t do all that well in gathering signatures, as the nine counties only accounted for 1,079 signatures between them – Dorchester and Somerset were lowest with 40 apiece. Leading the way was Parrott’s home county of Washington with 3,688. In a nutshell, that seems to signify the problem as word indeed spread slowly.
With that failure, it appears we will only have one statewide issue on the November ballot. In 2013 the General Assembly passed a “lockbox” requirement for the Transportation Trust Fund – unfortunately, the lock is simply a 3/5 majority of both houses. It would make more of a difference if Republicans got up to the 57 in the House and 19 in the Senate which would make them more than a 2/5 minority in those respective bodies, but otherwise the lock is pretty weak.