MDPetitions.com, which led successful attempts to get same-sex marriage, in state tuition for illegal immigrants, etc to the ballot is now planning to do the same for the death penalty. This would put it on the ballot for the 2014 election cycle, which may prove better for their goal. Here's more from the Washington Post:
A new battle began Friday over the future of Maryland’s death penalty, just a day after Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a bill abolishing capital punishment.
MDPetitions.com announced that it would lead an effort to gather enough signatures to force a public vote next year on the new law.
Supporters of the repeal law promptly vowed that they would work to keep it on the books.
“Make no mistake,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP. “If this goes to referendum, the NAACP and countless allies throughout Maryland will be there to fight.”
The Catholic Church in Maryland, meanwhile, urged citizens not to sign the petition.
If MDPetitions.com gathers 55,736 valid signatures by June 30, the repeal law will be put on hold pending a statewide vote in November 2014. One-third of those signatures must be turned in by the end of May.
Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), chairman of MDPetitions.com, and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger (D) announced the petition drive Friday morning at a news conference in Baltimore that also featured Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County).
I, for one, will be signing the petition. This is a highly controversial act to remove the death penalty which the public has historically supported. I want this to go up to a vote. And I want the death penalty to stay in effect.
It's been a while since I put a news roundup together, so here's some news.
- Baltimore City is heading toward financial ruin. Seriously, an outside accounting agency proved it recently. Baltimore City better be ready to be facing days of lean and better be ready to make serious decisions about spending / taxes or it really will hit financial ruin.
- In Baltimore County, attempts to petition complex zoning changes onto the ballot were blocked by the courts. Baltimore County has a much higher burden to overcome in order to petition things onto the ballot than the state. The Courts said that in order to make the ballot signatures valid, they needed to attach all 70+ pages of maps to go with the zoning changes and have every signer review them...which at its face is preposterous.
- Red Maryland still has a new 2014 poll open until tomorrow. Vote.
- Race42016 has the most obvious headline ever - Rand Paul is thinking of running for President. It's also a video of Rand Paul saying just that.
- Two Delegates of opposing parties [Sheila Hixson (D) and Michael Smigiel (R)] have put together competing proposals to cut the sales tax for the purchase of text books. Smigiel wants it year round, Hixson only wants it for part of the year. I mean - it's a gimmick, but it's also an attempt to get students to buy their books locally instead of via Amazon or other online booksellers. The problem? The online booksellers may still end up being cheaper and with free shipping as some offer, it's hard not to buy books online. It's a nice idea, but I don't know if it'll actually help.
- I apparently missed this video around Christmas, but the filming of the new Bible mini-series the History Channel is putting together looks very good.
- In August, regular USPS deliveries on Saturday will end. It's one of many cost cutting measures the USPS needs to do if it wants to remain...well, solvent.
- Delegate Dereck Davis (D) has proposed a pretty big type of "reform" for the Comptroller's office in HB660. The bill would strip the Comptroller's office of a number of its duties, specifically with regard to alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel and put those responsibilities on an appointed member of the Governor's cabinet. In essence, the bill would strip the Comptroller of power and create a stronger Governor's office. This is a power grab plain and simple and needs to be opposed. Davis is trying to move powers away from Franchot, who has not been sympathetic to Davis' support of expanding gambling, etc - and put it into the hands of someone who supports said measures (O'Malley). I think Franchot is a liberal and I voted for Campbell for the position in 2010; that said, I do not think we need to entirely change the office because I disagree with the person serving in the position. This is a retaliatory move, plain and simple. Oppose HB660.
- Ben Howe of Red State has some reasonable comments on 2012 and Rove's new Super PAC entitled, "It's the Messaging Stupid." Yes, it's more reasonable than the title suggests.
- Dave Miller of SBC Voices wrote a thoughtful piece entitled, "I Disagree with the Baptist Faith & Message: Does it Matter?" I tend to agree with him, so check it out.
- Ron Paul made an awful comment about a recently murdered Navy SEAL veteran, Misfit Politics responds with "We've Had Enough Ron." I've had enough of him for years, but this needed to be said.
- Monopoly lovers - the newest piece has been revealed: it's a cat. The iron has been retired and the cat has replaced it. I voted for the mustachioed robot.
Any news I missed? Feel free to let me know. I'll end with Lecrae's "Death Story" - a hip hop track reminding us the simple truth - we all need Jesus:
Question 7, the expansion to gambling which reportedly is going to help boost education, was not endorsed by the Maryland State Education Association (i.e. the MD State Teacher's Union). They as an organization remain effectively neutral on the ballot measure. Here's an excerpt from the Examiner piece:
The Maryland teachers union voted not not endorse the expansion of gambling in the state, even though raising revenue for education is the expansion's primary purpose.
The Maryland State Education Association needed 58 percent of its voting members to support the measure to make an official endorsement. Expansion could not clear that mark, though the vote was close, MSEA spokesman Adam Mendelson said.
"Our membership is very representative of the entire state both geographically and demographically," Mendelson said. "What you saw at our convention is very similar to the debates that are going on across the state and where the polling is."
The union represents more than 70,000 teachers and school employees across the state. The vote was held at the union's annual convention in Ocean City.
Other teacher unions are mostly supporting Question 7, which would allow table games, round-the-clock operation and a casino in Prince George's County. Last week, the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Prince George's County Educators' Association announced their support for expansion.
It seems even the teacher's union staff have realized that Question 7 is a raw deal for Maryland. Hopefully the polling showing it failing continues to hold up. I just want our legislators to go back to the drawing board and come up with a real solution on gambling on Maryland - not something railroaded through in a last minute special session.
Maryland is #1...at having the least compact Congressional districts in the nation according to geographic information services company Azavea. Maryland reporter has more here:
Maryland is still the undisputed U.S. champion when it comes to drawing sprawling, weirdly shaped congressional districts, according to a soon-to-be-released national study. Maryland has the least compact congressional districts in the nation, based on four mathematical tools for compactness, Azavea, a geographic information services firm in Philadelphia, plans to report in a white paper.
The 3rd Congressional District, zigzagging from Towson to Silver Spring to Annapolis is the third least compact of the 435 congressional districts in the United States, the study found. The 6th Congressional District that runs 177 miles from Potomac to Oakland at Maryland’s far western border is the 9th least compact. The 2nd Congressional District that includes parts of Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore and Harford counties is the 11th least compact congressional district.
The 3rd is now represented by Democrat John Sarbanes; the 6th, by Republican Roscoe Bartlett; and the 2nd, by Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger.
Voters in Maryland will get to approve or overturn the new lines on the Nov. 6 ballot in Question 5, which was put on the ballot through a petition drive by opponents of the partisan gerrymandering in the new plan.
Now that information on all the new congressional districts redrawn after 2010 Census is in, this Azavea study confirms the company’s data reported by MarylandReporter.com in December. The study was done as part of what the company sees as it as “social mission,” said Azavea GIS analysts Daniel McGlone.
The only two districts in the country less compact than Maryland’s 3rd are North Carolina’s 12th and Florida’s 5th, McGlone said. Both of those are majority minority districts, drawn to give a minority group more clout.
That does not apply to any of Maryland’s districts, where minority concentrations in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County are actually diluted to aid white Democratic incumbents.
And this is why we need to vote "NO" on Question 5. Let's send them back to the drawing board and come up with some compact districts that work.
Here's a new...news / link roundup with some fun commentary from you friendly neighborhood blogger:
- Since it's the last night of the Republican National Convention, I'll link back to the speeches from Condi Rice, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and Ann Romney. Why these speeches? Cause they're great. Also, cause they're easily accessible at Race42012. So check them out.
- Dan Barnes at SBC Voices wrote an interesting piece on the theological concept entitled, "Wovenism." Wovenism is not Calvinism or Arminism, but something almost in between. It's interesting, so worth checking out.
- Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a great piece on fact checking the fact checkers who are, basically, lying about Paul Ryan. As usual, the media is in the tank for Obama.
- Jimmie Bise of the Sundries Shack is right - the Mittness needs to let more "D'aww" stories leak to the press. He's an all around good person who doesn't like tooting his own horn. Let others do it for you, Mr. Romney.
- Josiah Schmidt, Race42012's resident libertarian, has an excellent piece with is predictions on why he thinks the GOP will get to 52 seats in the US Senate. Pretty solid predictions, tho there are some which could flip to lead to more seats.
- In an article making me feel old - Kotaku has a piece about the fact that Street Fighter turned 25 today. I played the original "Fighting Street" on the PC before playing a LOT of Super Street Fighter II on my Sega Genesis. Played a LOT of it with my brother. We'd sit in my room blasting music and playing the game. After a while, I got too good with Ryu and my brother wouldn't let me play as him. But that's another story.
- This piece is awful about atheists still serving in churches at the pulpit. Read it and be disgusting at these people deceiving their congregations.
- Last week, I was on Red Maryland radio talking the 2014 campaigns and Maryland referendums. You can listen to me here.
- Maryland's unemployment rate went up in July to 7%. In that same month, the unemployment rate in Frederick County dropped to 5.9%. Why is this relevant? The head of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners Blaine Young is considering a run for Governor in 2014. If the unemployment rate continues to drop there from their policies, it's relevant to note.
Got more news? Probably - feel free to link it in the comments. I'll leave you with this neat piece of pro-Romney artwork: