CHARLESTON, W.Va., February 24, 2014– As first reported by BenSwann.com last month, West Virginia legislators introduced legislation to nullify the federal ban on hemp. Earlier this afternoon the West Virginia State House voted to approve the bill which authorized the production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp within the state. The final vote was 88-8.
All local bond bills are essentially the pet projects of your local Legislators. Regretfully, every bond bill starts with the opening line, “Authorizing the Creation of a State Debt, not to exceed $xxx.xxx”
In the 12 years that I have represented District 31, the State Budget has increased almost 1 billion dollars per year, yet we still operate in a deficit condition. I cannot with a clear conscience vote for any bill that starts with the admission that it is a creation of state debt.
Many of these projects are worthwhile, however at a time of deficit, unfettered government spending is an affront to all citizens who year after year pay their taxes and continue to make do with less for their own families and needs.
Below I will highlight just some of the many bills introduced this year for feel good projects all around the state. There will be many many more which the public will never really see unless they look for them,. Keep in mind this is an election year, so the pressure is on to “bring home the bacon”.
Below are just a bakers dozen of the total bond bills introduced this year. The total dollar amount for just these 13 come to-$3,230,000.00
HB1470-$150,000 for Bestgate Park in Anne Arundel County
HB 901- $200,000. for a monument to Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Baltimore County
HB750- $200,000 for an HVAC system for a Community Theater in Montgomery County
HB1095- $100,00 for an Indian Heritage Museum in Charles County
HB752- $300,00 for improvements of a YMCA in Wicomico County
HB1455-$130,00 for improvements to a Town Hall in Prince Georges County
HB1468 $250,000 for improvements to a Boys and Girls Club in Washington County
HB505 $100,000 for a playground in Prince Georges County
HB504 $500,00 for the Potomac Community Resource Home in Montgomery County
HB497 $150,000 for a skatepark in Baltimore City
HB470 $200,00 to build shaded structures for a playground in Howard County
HB267 $375,000 for a stormwater management project in Fredrick County
HB466 $575,000 for improvements to the Day Resource Center in Howard County
This bill would have exempted Anne Arundel County from the rain tax requirement, but was unfortunately defeated in Delegation this morning, essentially killing the bill.
I voted for this bill and have always held the belief that in Anne Arundel County, the bulk of pollution comes from pumping station overflows and wastewater treatment plant discharges. As I posted earlier, my claim is not being contradicted by Maryland BayStat.
You can see for yourself, using the interactive map and selecting Anne Arundel County, that BayStat reports wastewater treatment plants as the biggest source of pollution coming from our county- not stormwater runoff. In January of last year, a Federal Judge ruled that the EPA can not regulate stormwater as a pollutant.
The issue of stormwater runoff is an issue that needs to be addressed, however, to insist that it is the main cause of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in the Bay is misleading to the public in order to place yet another onerous tax burden on the backs of the taxpayers. I find this to be unacceptable and will continue to support a repeal of this legislation.
To read my post on this tap here: The Real Pollution Problem in AA County
In The Law, Bastiat says “each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property”. The State is a “substitution of a common force for individual forces” to defend this right. The law becomes perverted when it is used to violate the rights of the individual, when it punishes one’s right to defend himself again a collective effort of others to legislatively enact laws which basically have the same effect of plundering.
The work has significance and importance today because the same situation that existed in the France of 1848, exists in practically every country today. The same socialist-communist ideas and plans that were then adopted in France are now sweeping the world. The explanations and arguments then advanced against socialism by Mr. Bastiat are equally valid today.
If you are interested in reading material which clearly and succinctly lays out the proper role of Government and Law, and how that law can be perverted to accomplish the exact opposite of what it was originally intended to do, this work is of great importance.
The Chairwoman of the Committee, Delegate Maggie McIntosh was supportive, stating that this is “an important issue that should be taken up this session”
Delegate Niemann (D)spoke in support of Hemp as a “formidable agricultural product” and recollected that Hemp was grown as a cash crop in Nebraska where he grew up before the second World War.
I came across this interesting and recent article regarding hemp as a means to remove toxins from the soil.
Hemp test proposed for Louisville industrial site cleanup
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – State agriculture officials announced plans to grow industrial hemp on an abandoned industrial site in Louisville to test its ability to remove toxins from the soil.
The initiative, announced Monday, is one of five pilot projects statewide, some of which would focus on growing hemp in Eastern Kentucky. Besides the environmental benefits, hemp supporters said the crop will create new jobs in the state because of its various industrial uses. Read Article
Olympia, Wa., February 17, 2014– State legislators in the Washington House of Representatives just voted unanimously (97:0) to approve HB1888, which effectively nullifies the federal ban on hemp within the state of Washington.
This legislation is very similar to my HB 1010, that will be heard tomorrow in Committee. I am hopeful that my legislation will be as successful as the bill just passed in Washington State. Will Maryland soon see the economic benefits of Industrial Hemp as other states have begun to see? If you would like to testify in support of HB 1010 please call my office at 410-841-3047. Hearing starts at 1pm in the Environmental Matters Committee Room. If you cannot make it to Annapolis, but support this bill I would encourage you to call or email the members of the Environmental Matters Committee.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling yesterday could have major implications on Maryland’s concealed carry law. The ruling opens the door for a potential Supreme Court Case regarding the Constitutionality of concealed carry permitting.
Last year, the 4th District Court of Appeals struck down a US District Court ruling that Maryland’s requirement to show “good and substantial” cause for a permit was unconstitutional.
California’s permitting requirements are similar to Maryland. It is a “may issue” state. Permitting depends on the local sheriff or police chief from county to county. The law says you have to show good moral character and in San Diego, you also have to show good cause to get one. As in Maryland, self defense is not considered “good and substantial” reason. In its ruling, the 9th circuit said the county’s narrow view of good cause violates the 2nd amendment right to bear arms for self defense. article
Gun Rights resources:
I have reintroduced the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act, HB 1011 for this Legislative Session. This is a bill which would prohibit the State of Maryland to use Agents or resources to aid in the unconstitutional arrest and indefinite detainment of Citizens by the Federal Government under the Federal NDAA.
Last year this bill had tremendous support from various groups who came to testify, including the ACLU of Maryland.
Please consider appearing in Annapolis to testify in support of this bill on March 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm in the Health and Government Operations Committee, and contacting committee members in support of this bill.
On February 6th the Editorial Board of the Capital Gazette ran the following opinion:
This is my response:
“Stripping Del. Don Dwyer of the right to sit on any standing committee was a message to the Pasadena Republican from the legislative leadership: Be quiet and don’t remind us you’re here.”
That’s right. The position of the Capital Gazette is that I should sit down and shut up.
The editorial board, which includes Maryland Gazette Editor Rick Hutzel wrote the above in the Feb 6 installment of “Our Say”. Their particular ire this time centers on the two bills I recently introduced, HB 734 and HB 733. I submitted these bills last week with no announcement and no press release. Because these bills are important to me personally, I sought no fanfare.
HB 734 would amend the Constitution to provide for the removal of an elected official if they are serving jail time- regardless of the offense. Because my offense did not violate my Oath of Office, or involve an abuse of power, there was no provision for my removal. Since this is a Constitutional Amendment, this bill would give voters the right to decide if they support the removal of an elected official who has been incarcerated for an offense that did not involve their elected office.
HB 733 would establish a mandatory minimum sentence on elected officials convicted of a DUI. I introduced this because two courts of law, the Speaker, Senate President, and many elected officials have said, “elected officials should be held to a higher standard”. I agree, who better than me to lead that charge? I began to use alcohol to help me cope with personal issues. I know that I am not alone when it comes to the struggle with alcohol. In a very short time, my use of alcohol nearly destroyed my life. Let me say unequivocally and without exception, I have benefitted from the sentence that I received. I want to be a testament to meeting the issue of alcoholism head on. This is an opportunity for us to set a high bar, by all means use me as an example to send a message that we are willing to be leaders regarding alcoholism and driving impaired. Let’s stop paying it lip service, calling in favors and looking the other way when one of us gets caught, as has been the case in the past.
Elected officials have already stated belief and support of holding ourselves to a higher standard, let’s lead by example! I believe that this bill should pass with flying colors.
On the contrary, the Capital Gazette believes this bill has less chance than a grocery list to pass into law.
Have they stopped to think for ten minutes what that says about the integrity of the Legislature? The Editorial Board of a major local newspaper believes that any bill with Delegate Dwyer as the sole sponsor has no chance of passing. Worse yet, they point out that the Legislature has and continues to block legislation on the basis that it has been proposed by Delegate Dwyer.
They go on to wonder what my fellow legislators will say should these bills come up for a hearing. First, every bill should come up for a hearing and a committee vote- it has long been a practice to squash unpopular bills by not calling for a committee vote. I have for years opposed this. Second, if my bills are afforded the proper legislative procedure, what my fellow legislators say or feel about these bills will be reflected in their vote, as it is with all bills proposed.
The Capital concludes its “Our Say” by stating, “…his constituents surely don’t deserve this”. I happen to disagree. Every citizen deserves elected officials willing to hold themselves to a higher standard. I would welcome your thoughts on this. I have been approached by many constituents who feel elected officials should hold a higher standard of personal conduct. I have been fortunate and grateful to continue to receive support and forgiveness for my own fall from grace by many people in my district and around the State.
The Capital, and Mr. Hutzel specifically, have had a long history of publishing negative articles and opinions about me over the years. After years of excoriating me because of my political views, has the Capital simply resorted to knee jerk reactions to all of my legislation? I can’t help but wonder, had it been another legislator proposing these bills, would they be standing and applauding?
I have introduced the following bill to authorize the growth, production and sale of industrial hemp in Maryland. I believe that the economic benefits of industrial hemp will be a viable option for Maryland farmers as a cash crop.
HB 1010- Production and Sale of Industrial Hemp- This bill is modeled after the Tenth Amendment Center’s “Hemp Freedom Act”. This bill would nullify the Unconstitutional Federal prohibition on Industrial Hemp, and potentially opening up an economic boon to Maryland by authorizing a person to plant, grow, harvest, process, possess, sell, and buy industrial hemp in the State. The bill prohibits the State of Maryland to utilize agents or resources to aid any Federal punitive or legal action against any farmer who grows industrial hemp as a crop.This Bill has the support of The Maryland Farm Bureau and the Farm Bureau of Anne Arundel County.
HB 1010 has a hearing scheduled on Wednesday, Feb 19 at 1pm in the Environmental Matters Committee.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that marijuana is derived from. The two plants differ in that marijuana comes from the leaves and flowers of the female plant whereas, Industrial hemp come from the male plant and is grown for industrial use of the stalk and seeds primarily. They also differ in levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC) the chemical that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Marijuana plants contain levels of 3-15% THC and male plants grown for industrial hemp contain less than 1% of THC. Research has consistently shown that the low THC level in hemp plants is not capable of producing the psychoactive effects that true marijuana plants do
The plant serves as a good rotation crop—choking out weeds and surviving without the aid of polluting pesticides, while taking no more nutrients from the soil than a corn crop. The mature plant’s strength makes it impervious to storm damage. All parts of hemp (fiber, hurds and seeds) are economically important. Hemp can be grown in many climates and under many conditions. It is reported that Hemp is a great rotational crop with Soy and Corn. Given the corn and soy production of Maryland and specifically the eastern shore, Industrial Hemp is a natural for Maryland farmers.
The Washington Times reported this month the potential of a $500 million industry in American Hemp production.
Many American industries, including those in textiles, foods, oil and building materials, have shown a growing interest in hemp. American clothing Manufacturers grossed about $5 million in 1991 and $50 million in 1995 on hemp products. The proposed state research projects as well as the new technology and machinery needed for a developing hemp industry will provide new jobs. Import costs for American industries using hemp, currently estimated at $120 million, and would drop considerably if it could be produced domestically.
U.S. Congress – The 2014 Farm Bill that just passed Congress, included an amendment that relaxed a 75-year old restriction on growing and researching industrial hemp. The amendment clearly defines Industrial Hemp separate and apart from marijuana.
NCSL – The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2000 adopted a policy on Industrial Hemp. That policy resulted in a letter to then President Bill Clinton Urging the USDA and the DEA to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana.
For further reading:
Who supports it?