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?
I have introduced the following legislation this year. This bill attempts to deal with Unconstitutional actions taken by the Federal Government by way of Nullification.
HB 995- Firearms Freedom Act- This bill would prevent the State of Maryland or any agents of the State, or any State resources be used to enforce any act, a law, a statute, a rule, or a regulation of the Federal government relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the State and that remains exclusively within the borders of the State.
Hearing is set for March 3, 2014 in the House Judiciary Committee
You can track this bill by going to the Maryland General Assembly website and sign up for bill tracking.
To see a great talk explaining the doctrine of nullification under the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, watch the video below.
For more information on the Tenth Amendment Movement check out The Tenth Amendment Center
To read more about Nullification under the Doctrine of Interposition, check out Publius Hulda’s Blog
The policies and actions of the Governor and Democratic Controlled State Legislature has resulted in not only loss of individual liberty, but also the loss of economic advantage. Businesses like Beretta USA which had plans to expand in Maryland, but scrapped it after last years gun ban was passed, have packed up and left town.
Below is the letter written by CEO and president of Beretta Holding S.p.A, Ugo Gussalli Beretta- it is well worth the read.
My family has operated our business from the same small town in northern Italy for 500 years. This means that when we make a commitment to a local community, our hope is to do so for decades, if not centuries, to come.
We apply this same philosophy to all of our factories and locations throughout the world. Such a commitment is not a one-way street, though.
In return for our investment in jobs, facilities and assistance to the local economy, we ask for respect and a supportive business climate.
We deserve such respect. We make the standard sidearm for the U.S. armed forces. We also make firearms that police and consumers use to save their lives and the lives of others.
We also make sporting firearms that are enjoyed by tens of millions of people worldwide, from Olympic shooters to weekend hunters.
Our business has grown in recent years, and because of that, we needed to expand production in our U.S facility, located in Accokeek, just outside of Washington, D.C., in the Maryland suburbs.
Unfortunately, as we were planning that expansion, Maryland’s governor and legislature voted in favor of new regulations that unfairly attack products we make and that our customers want.
These regulations also demean our law-abiding customers, who must now be fingerprinted like criminals before they can be allowed to purchase one of our products.
We have seen these types of legislative proposals in Maryland before, and they never seem to reduce crime. Maybe this is because the proponents of such legislation blame the product instead of human misconduct.’
But in any event, because of these new restrictions and the pattern of harassment aimed at lawful firearm owners we have seen in Maryland over the decades, we decided to expand our facilities in a state that shows more respect for citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights.
We chose Tennessee for our new facility expansion. Our plans for that location are extensive and long-lasting.
We chose Tennessee because the governor and legislators in that state understand what it means to support businesses (such as through job recruitment and training programs) that improve employment in the state without treating companies as a necessary evil.
We chose Tennessee also because the vast majority of its residents and their elected officials have shown that they respect and honor the American tradition of personal freedoms, including the right to bear arms.
Ugo Gussalli Beretta
As many dog owners have been aware, the court ruling Tracey v Solesky resulted in many beloved family pets being separated from their grieving owners as landlords took action to protect themselves from liability. Only a few lucky ones were placed in new homes, many were euthanized in shelters all across Maryland. While I have tremendous sympathy and concern for victims of dog bites and attacks, these cases must lawfully be dealt with individually, rather than branding an entire breed of dog as inherently dangerous.
I hold the position that the owner of a dog is responsible for the dog, regardless of breed or heritage. I do not support any legislation that would ban certain dogs because of breed or heritage. Dog attacks or bites are very serious; however a family dog with no history of aggression should not be targeted because of his breed.
Though I did not get the opportunity to co-sponsor these bills before they were dropped, I do support and will vote for the bills below.
This bill says that in a legal action against the owner of a dog that has caused injury or death, evidence that the dog caused personal injury of death creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known of the dogs dangerous propensities. This means the owner would have the opportunity to prove otherwise.
It also says that in any action against any person other than the owner for damages regarding personal injury or death of a dog all common law of liability relating to attacks by dogs before April 1, 2012 is retained as to the person without regard to breed or heritage of the dog
This bill nullifies the court ruling that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous.
This bill prohibits a dog from being determined to be potentially dangerous based solely on the breed, type, or heritage of the dog; prohibiting a county from enacting a local law and a municipality from adopting an ordinance prohibiting a person from owning, keeping, or harboring a dog of a specified breed, type, or heritage or take specified other actions based on the breed, type, or heritage of the dog; etc.
The following are summaries of gun bills introduced in the 2014 Legislative Session. If you feel strongly about any of them, please click on the link for the sponsor for their contact information.
This bill is a repeal of the requirement that the State Police determine “good and substantial” justification for issuing a Concealed Carry Permit.
This would require Maryland recognize Concealed Carry Permits issued by other states.
This bill would permit possession or transport by a nonresident of the State of an assault weapon or a detachable magazine that has been legally purchased outside the State for the purpose of using the assault weapon or detachable magazine to participate in an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, or a sport shooting event, having the assault weapon or detachable magazine repaired at a bona fide repair shop, or traveling through the State for a lawful purpose. This bill intends to resolve the issues created by SB 281 which would make non residents engaging in military or sport shooting events in Maryland or traveling through Maryland “criminals” and subject to potential arrest.
This bill requires the Secretary of State Police to issue a handgun permit to a person who has been issued a handgun qualification license. The HQL is now a requirement for all purchases of handguns in Maryland as per the new assault weapons ban of last year.
This bill would prohibit a person from using any material to create or modify a detachable magazine and prohibits a person from using a 3-dimentional printer to manufacture a firearm receiver.
Would ban 8th day transfers, allowing the MSP to shut down handgun sales simply by not acting on applications. The 8th day release was implemented because of the risk that MSP would use the approval process to shut down firearm sales.
This bill creates a task force to study implementation of requiring GPS devices on every firearm. This would also open the door to a firearm registry. And expenses and compensations to the members of the task force would be funded by your tax dollars.
This bill would extend the prohibition of “deadly weapons” including firearms and knives on school property to include Private School property. While this exempts police and any potential school guards, it’s clear that such laws do not actually stop criminals from bringing weapons onto school property.
Gun Rights – Regretfully, Maryland refuses to recognize the legitimate and inalienable right to Keep and Bear Arms. Last year’s sweeping gun ban passed despite huge opposition from the public has done little to address or curtail violence in Maryland, and has had a huge negative effect on personal liberty and private property.
There is no Constitutional provision that supports Maryland’s position that all firearms must be registered with the State and that you must hold a State issued permit to lawfully carry a firearm. I have always held and voted that every Law-Abiding citizen has the right to own and carry a firearm without a permit. After all, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont, Wyoming and Oklahoma, do not require a permit to carry a firearm in public. Additional information on Constitutional Carry states.
Gun Bills Introduced in MD- keep in mind this list will grow as session continues.
Maryland Shall Issue is the leading local activist group in Maryland dedicated to restoring gun rights to citizens. They are a great resource of information regarding this issue.
Maryland Legislative Watch does a great job summarizing proposed legislation and provides links to email your legislator all in one convenient place.
The Chesapeake Bay and the Rain Tax– For decades now, we have heard about the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Legislature over that time has implemented various forms of taxes and fees intent on addressing the issue of water quality. Unfortunately this has been a ruse. In fact the money spent has primarily been used to grow the Maryland Department of the Environment to the point that it now employees 937 State employees. Regretfully the growth of MDE has done little to nothing to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
HB11- authorizes Bay Restoration funds to be used to disconnect septic systems and to connect those homes to municipal waste water treatment facilities. The untold story is that it is those municipal facilities that dump hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated raw sewage into the bay every year. Now HB11 proposes to add additional load to an already failing municipal facility.
HB12-On the surface this bill would appear to provide funding for the implementation of the latest technology in septic systems within local jurisdictions whereby a percentage of the cost is paid by the government. What this bill and all of the issues pertaining to Bay Restoration fail to recognize (not by accident) is the fact that the primary cause of contamination in our waterways are the failures of waste water treatment plants and infrastructure. See the links below for overflow reports for 2013 alone.
SB01- Rightly recognizes that a homeowner using the latest nitrogen removing technology in a septic system should be exempted from any further expense related to environmental fees. The cost of the latest technology can run upwards of 20 thousand dollars. Because the State is only interested in raising revenue, its unlikely to pass.
A bond bill is a piece of legislation that starts with the words “Creation of State Debt” The fact that bond bills are debt should be enough that no Legislator would sponsor such a bill when we continue to raise taxes and fees claiming all along that we simply don’t have enough revenue to support the needs of the State. These Bills are the “Pork Projects” of your local State Legislators.
For this reason no Legislator should ask for or support any such legislation. I will NOT support any Legislation that increases state debt
Continue to check back as I will regularly update with new information and legislation to keep an eye on.
State legislatures have begun to decriminalize marijuana. This is very important, even if you don’t support marijuana use, personally. This issue goes beyond simple decriminalization of marijuana because it is not only about the freedom to make your own choices as to what you eat, drink or smoke, it is about liberty and the return to true constitutional governance. The result of the States’ refusal to accept unconstitutional federal over reach has positive implications on the future of Liberty and governance, which the Founders always intended to reside in the States.
The Federal Government has never had the authority to ban marijuana within the states. The clearest evidence of this is the simple fact that it took an amendment to the Constitution, (the 18th ) to prohibit alcohol and another amendment,(the 21st) to repeal the alcohol prohibition. To date there have been no such amendment to prohibit marijuana.
To further support my argument, The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” This means that any prohibition, regulation or other law regarding marijuana is left to each state to enact, by means of their legislative process supported by the citizens of that state.
What we have instead, is decades of unconstitutional federal “Law” and regulation that has gone unchecked because of the misrepresentation of the Supremacy Clause by the courts. The Supremacy Clause has been used as an argument against nullification. The Supremacy Clause states “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme Law of the Land” The power lies within the states, by way of the elected legislature to determine if a law is pursuant to the Constitution. On the other hand, if the law is indeed unconstitutional, nullification is not only justified, but the duty of the individual states to ignore.
Nullification under the Doctrine of Interposition is the rightful remedy for unconstitutional Federal “Laws” as clearly intended and argued by Thomas Jefferson.
“…but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that without this right they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them”
Let’s be clear, nullification is not an act whereby a state simply refuses to comply with a Federal law it does not like, it is the claim that the law is not a law at all because it is unconstitutional.
Individual States all over the US are currently exercising this right by considering a number of legislative actions that would nullify illegal, unconstitutional Federal “laws” such as obamacare, any federal firearms ban, registration or limitations, and the prohibition of marijuana. The debate is not simply about marijuana legalization; it is a debate whether or not to return our country to true Constitutional governance.
In an effort to address this issue, I am proposing a number of Nullification bills the bill pertaining to Marijuana is entitled the”cannabisfreedom2014
State of the State Address 1/23/2014
- The O’Malley/Brown Administration has increased the state budget by 32% ( $9.6 billion) in 8 short years
- The O’Malley/Brown Administration has imposed nearly 80 taxes and fees on the citizens of Maryland in that time. These taxes and fees are impacting working middleclass families the hardest.
- Governor O’Malley has personally adopted Common Core mathematical standards, intending for you to believe that a $9.6 billion increase in state spending somehow equals a $9.1 billion dollar cut. Love the new math.
Once again, the State of the State address by Governor O’Malley was filled with empty promises and fairytales of his accomplishments as governor.
Rule change 1
Delegate McMillan proposed a rule change that reads “Each committee shall consider AND VOTE ON every bill and resolution referred to it” This would ensure that every bill gets a vote in committee and ending the regular practice of Committee Chairs killing bills by never bringing them to a vote.
Rule change 2
Delegate Hough proposed a rule change that would prohibit a member of the majority Party from participating as the House Parliamentarian. As you can imagine, when ever questions are raised on procedure, the current Parliamentarian always rules on the side of the Majority Party. Maryland is the only State in the country where the Parliamentarian is a member of a serving Party. Other states provide a professional, non legislative member parliamentarian for unbiased rulings on issues of procedure.
Both of these proposals will die a quiet death and will NOT be incorporated.
I certainly support both proposals.