A Look Ahead At What Will Be On Your Ballot
By Bryan Simonaire
Senator, District 31
The upcoming presidential election will be quite unique in that Marylanders have demanded their approval be required on several laws recently passed by Annapolis legislators. There will be two such questions on the ballot and possibly a third.
Tax Breaks For Illegal Immigrants
The first question will ask voters if they want their tax dollars going to reduce and subsidize college tuition rates for those illegally in our state and country. Under the legislation in question, commonly referred to as Marylands Dream Act for illegals, a student illegally in the country would be able to receive up to approximately $50,000 in taxpayer dollars to help with their higher education.
I worked and voted against this legislation, as it made no legal sense to me and seemed quite unfair to law-abiding citizens. For example, parents legally in the state who cannot afford to send their own children to college would be required to pay taxes to help with the college costs for those illegally in our country.
Legalization Of Homosexual Marriage
The second question voters will face is whether they want Maryland to legalize homosexual marriage. Current law defines marriage between a man and a woman. This new law would allow any two individuals the right to marry with the full privileges associated with marriage bestowed upon them.
I did not support this legislation and I tried to put in educational protections against known problems in other states dealing with this issue. I offered an amendment to allow parents the ability to opt out their youngest students from class material dealing with homosexuality.
Other states that have passed homosexual marriage have included homosexuality content down to the kindergartener level. The amendment failed in a close vote and the bill passed without amendments.
Politically Drawn Congressional District Maps
A third question may be on the ballot depending on the validation process that is still underway. This question would allow the people to vote on whether to accept the newly drawn congressional district maps. There is no question that these maps are drawn for the benefit of political parties and not what is best for the people; however, leaders in Annapolis did not expect to have the people weigh in on the matter.
Again, I did not support the newly drawn political congressional boundaries as they did not benefit the people.
The Petition Process And What Is Next
The petition to referendum process is difficult, because for one reason, you would not want hundreds of trivial questions placed on the ballot. However, the process should not be so difficult as to limit any question from being placed on the ballot.
Petition drives have historically failed due to simple mistakes on the submitted forms. Although with the use of computers, internet and electronic voter information, it has become easier to submit valid information for the petition process.
As a result of the newfound success, politicians are not thrilled with the extra accountability, and there is a move in Annapolis to make the process even more difficult. There was legislation submitted this year to make it almost impossible to have a successful petition drive by requiring, among other things, the notarization of each signature page. Fortunately, we defeated this bad legislation that would have silenced the voice of the people.
I encourage each of you to get out and voice your views this November, as there will be more than just a presidential candidate on the ballot.
As your State Senator, you can count on me to continue fighting so that your voice will be heard in Annapolis. If you have any comments, please contact my office at Bryan.Simonaire@senate.state.md.us or call at 410-841-3658.