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February 4, 2010

Rewrite the Maryland Constitution? It's up to you.

Here's one reason to read all the way to the end of the ballot when you vote this November.

Maryland voters will choose a governor and all 188 state lawmakers this fall, but they'll also likely face an even weightier decision: Should the state constitution be ripped up and rewritten?

Every 20 years, state lawmakers are required to pass legislation placing a "constitutional convention question" on the ballot. The bill is expected to win easy approval because, as Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman told lawmakers on Wednesday, "You really don't have a choice."

Once the question is on the ballot, it has a long record of going nowhere - just one has been called since 1867, and the document produced was rejected. But some wonder if citizen activist groups might be able to rally enough support this year for rewriting the state's governing laws.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pan the idea of a convention, though they acknowledge that it's their duty to pose the question to voters.

Some citizen groups have already begun rallying for a convention. Here's a recent opinion piece, published in The Baltimore Sun, that explores some of the pros of a constitutional update by citizens.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 9:56 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: General Assembly 2010


Add into the Constitution the following.

Term Limits
Shall issue CCW
RECALL AMENDMENT that is citizen initiated for ANY elected official
Citizen initiated bills and laws like California's Proposition statute.
MANDATORY removal of any elected official form LEADERSHIP positions if under any criminal investigation that has to do with that elected officials official duties.

Not sure if this actually done by state constitutional amendment, but we need to allow for independent, not party machine voting. Independents should be allowed to register to vote as such, and then vote in the primary they choose. I believe this could be very important to the state of Maryland.

"Citizen initiated bills and laws like California's Proposition statute."

Now that's funny. I mean, you have to go to Albania or Somalia to find a more-failed-state than California.

Anonymous, think how much worse Mexifornia would be WITHOUT the Proposition statute. With it the people stopped unlimited property tax increases. Remember Prop 13?

They passed Prop 187 which the courts then denied.

Passes Prop 1A, Indian reserve gambling.

Passed Prop 99 which limited the use of "eminent domain" after the Kelo v. City of New London decision.

So you see, it IS a good thing to have available to us.

VI, what's CCW?

My observations pertaining to the California-style Proposition Statute is it makes the House of Delegates irrelevant in some cases, but keeps the GA reined in. When combined with the ability for recall elections, it just makes a mess and mockery of Representative Government. The limited usefulness of both accountability remedies is offset by the gridlock it creates. Furthermore, its ultimate end is mob-rule.

A much better solution would be to end at-large districting. Those in power will never vote to end at-large districting because that's how most of them were elected to office.

Regarding open primaries, I believe the entire concept is extremely rude at best, and akin to criminal trespass at worst. No government should regulate who can "come to your party". The state board of elections is in charge of regulating balloted (primary) elections and works with the respective parties as a convenience for them. The parties, unless decided otherwise internally, are closed parties and the primaries should not be anyones to crash. Imagine having your HOA in charge of your guest list. That's as bad as Burma/Myanmar.

CCW is concealed carry permit. We DESERVE as law abiding citizens the right to defend ourselves and our families with the great equalizers.

And making the House of Delegates irrelevant would be a GREAT thing sometimes. Are not they the ones who made the mess we see today?

16 states (I believe) have a recall option and it is rarely accomplished. We DO NEED THE TOOL though as a club over the heads of these legislooters. Look at Currie who is under investigation and STILL sits as a Chairman of an important committee. The hoops and signatures for a recall are VERY HIGH as we have seen with voter initiated referendums here in Maryland. It is VERY difficult to pull off but is an important tool in our quiver.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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