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  • Tuesday, March 21, 2023 9:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Montgomery County should adopt ranked choice voting. So should everyplace else.  Washington Post Editorial Board, March 20, 2023



    Rent regulation led to condo conversion in Takoma Park, by Salim Furth, Montgomery Perspective, March 20, 2023


    Montgomery Co. wants to hear from residents about long-term pedestrian planWTOP, March  2023


    Montgomery County rent increasesWashington Post, March 19, 2023


    How would MoCo's proposed property tax hike stack up against other counties, MOCO360, March 20, 2023


    Parents ask for a pause to Poolesville school construction after student complaints, Washington Post, March 17, 2023 


    Police investigating Theft from Grace United Methodist Church in Takoma Park, Source of the Spring, March 20, 2023


    Former councilmember Craig Rice up for position in county executive's office, MOCO360, March 17, 2023



    Advocates and lawmakers hope bills to benefit youth beat crossover deadline, Maryland Matters, March 20, 2023


    Busy Saturday: House passes Trans Health Equity Act, advances price gouging and data protections, backs a new state spirit, Maryland Matters, March 18, 2023


    Midsize Banks seek 2-Year FDIC Guarantee: What it means for MD banks? Patch, March 20, 2023  (2 are Maryland banks)


    As Opioids overdose deaths keep rising report urges lawmakers to develop new approaches, Maryland Matters, March 19, 2023



    How to Define WokeNational Review, March 20, 2023  Mentions Bethany Mandel


    Good Guys' guns stop far more shootings FBI reports, Washington Times, March 20, 2023 


    Our half-educated education debates, National Review, American Enterprise Institute, March 17, 2023


    Opinion: Despite liberal media wishful thinking China just keeps pumping out more carbon-dioxide, Washington Examiner, March 20, 2023


  • Tuesday, March 21, 2023 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hello MFRW Officers, Regional Chairmen, Club Presidents & Legislative Committee, 

    Both the Senate and House met Saturday.  The attached weekly Update includes Saturday's votes.  There is so much going on with 3 weeks to go in the session. 

    Cross over day is Monday, March 20th.  Any bill that has not received a 3rd Reading Vote and "crossed-over" to the opposite chamber by Monday night must go through extra hoops with the Rules Committee and thus is less likely to receive final passage.   

    HB 119 - Comprehensive Health Education Framework was completely rewritten and renamed when it emerged from the Ways and Means Committee and was passed by the House of Delegates 96-37.  It will now be heard in the Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committee. The Senate companion bill SB 199 remains in the EEE.  

    As rewritten HB 119 is now the Curriculum Guides and Courses.  It appears to remove the authority of local Boards of Education to mold curriculums and courses and imposes State Board of Education policy and guidelines for every element of instruction and not allow any student to opt out of instruction in a manner not approved by the State Board. It will impose heavy financial penalties for any deviation not resolved within 30 days by withholding 10% of state education funding. If compliance is not met in 60 days an additional 10% would be withheld. 

    One size does not fit all jurisdictions. There should be some flexibility for local Boards of Education (who are also elected officials) to alter State curriculum guidelines to meet the needs of their school districts.  I encourage you to read the revised HB 119 and contact the Senate EEE Committee and urge that both HB 119 and SB 199 be given an unfavorable report.  The highest priority for Maryland public education needs to be bringing every child up to grade level in reading and mathematics not punishing local school systems if they modify teaching about sex and sexual practices to be more in line with local values. 

    The House has also passed HB 283 - Gender Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act) to be covered by the Maryland Medical Assistance Program.  This legislation imposes no minimum age limits and would allow children and teens to be treated with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or surgery to remove their reproductive organs and reshape their bodies to be more aligned with their gender choice.  The Senate version (SB 460) has received a favorable report and is on 2nd Reader.  At a minimum this legislation needs to be amended to require a person be at least 18 years old to undergo irreversible chemical and surgical treatment that renders them unable to procreate.

    We all are aware of how easily children and teenagers are influenced by social media, groups of friends and teachers, coaches, etc.  A child of 12, 14 or 16 is not mature enough to make a life-long decision to forgo ever functioning sexually or ever being a parent. It is unconscionable to allow this to happen.  Urge both the House and Senate to amend this legislation or defeat it. 

    Beyond these issues I want to call your attention to the very thoughtful statement of Delegate Todd Morgan in his weekly enews to the issue of Maryland adopting the California Clean Cars Act vehicle standards.  See Below. 



    Ella Ennis 

    Legislative Chairman 

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

  • Monday, February 13, 2023 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hello MFRW Officers, Club Presidents and Legislative Committee 

    The deadline for introduction of bills has passed.  Any bills introduced after last Friday must go through the Rules Committee of their respective chamber before receiving any further consideration.  

    Attached is the MFRW Legislative Update as of 2-10-2023.  Please take a few minutes to check the issue categories of importance to your Club.  

    Also attached is an Excel file with all Delegates and Senators contact information in three formats -alphabetical, by Committee, and by Legislative District.  Thank you to Linda Stine Flint for preparing these lists.  Very soon we should have the Committee e-mail lists prepared by Linda Bradley posted on the MFRW website too. Thank goodness for Lindas.  Diana Waterman will work her magic at the website so you will be able to highlight the names and copy and paste them into an e-mail. 

    Legislation on two very controversial issues was introduced last week that require your careful review and consideration.

    SB 798 - Constitutional Amendment - Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Freedom.

    SB 845 - End of Life Options Act to authorize physician assisted suicide now called "physician-assisted aid in dying."

    As mentioned in our mid-week ALERT - on February 15th the Ways and Means Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates will hold their hearing on HB 359 - Save Women's Sports Act to require Maryland public high school interscholastic & intramural junior varsity and varsity athletic teams to be expressly designated based on biological sex.  Teams may be (1) a boys, male, or men's team or sport; (2) a girls, female, or women's team or sport, or (3) a coeducational or mixed team or sport.  

    We are grateful to Delegate Kathy Szeliga and the 32 Republican Delegates who are sponsoring HB 359 and have stepped up to protect the opportunities for girls and women to compete in interscholastic and intramural varsity and junior varsity teams.  Girls work hard for years to earn the opportunity to compete in their sport and to win scholarships for college. Some go on to professional sports careers.

    Watch for our MFRW Action ALERTS this week.  Raise your Voice for fair and equal treatment of Girls and Women's Sports. Together, we can make a difference.

    MFRW 2023 WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE -2-10-2023.docx

  • Wednesday, February 01, 2023 4:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The time periods for signing up differ in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.  

    For the House of Delegates, you must sign up two workdays prior to the hearing. For bills being heard on Tuesdays you must sign up the Friday prior. The House sign up hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For the State Senate, you must sign up 

    one workday prior to the hearing between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

    This week there are many important bills being heard.  Please take a few minutes and check the Weekly Legislative Update for the issues most important to you and your club. If you feel strongly about a bill, please send an email to the Committee members.  Bills with hearings this week are highlighted in red and House bills to be heard a week from Tuesday are highlighted in blue. 

    Two Voting bills that the MFRW will testify in support of this week are: 

    HB 22 - Requiring verification of a voter's signature on Absentee ballot envelopes and witness signature. 

    HB 35 - Requiring Voter ID to Vote 

    We will oppose HB 119 Primary & Secondary Education - Comprehensive Health Education Framework.  

    All 3 of these bills are before the House Ways and Means Committee. 

    Our written testimony is attached.   

    Next week there are hearings on Ranked Choice Voting for Montgomery County that have statewide implications and firearm related legislation that is designed to restrict citizens' rights to own and carry a weapon outside of their home. It is really important for us to raise our voices against this legislation as individuals as well as clubs or other organizations.   

    Thank you to President Sharon Carrick for the Excel file of the Republican Delegates by Committee with e-mails and phone numbers.  We also have, thanks to Linda Bradley of Garrett County Republican Women, email lists for the committees.  They are attached and will make it easier to send e-mails. 



    Ella Ennis 

    Legislative Chairman 

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women 

  • Monday, April 04, 2022 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Attached is the MFRW Weekly Legislative Update for April 3.  

    SB 1012 to revamp the Congressional Districts enacted by the Legislature in December passed through both chambers in the blink of an eye last week and are awaiting a decision by the Governor.  While the map under SB 1012 looks better with fewer contorted shapes, it is not as fair as the Citizens Redistricting Commission maps and splits numerous counties into multiple pieces.  The Dems also appealed the Judge's decision to overturn their original, very gerrymandered congressional districts. Yesterday on CNN, Governor Hogan said he would talk with the Legislative leaders to see if they would drop their appeal.  So, it should be an interesting week and we still have to hear from a separate judge on State Legislative Districts.   

    The Constitutional Amendment to fully legalize recreational marijuana (cannabis) achieved final passage and will be on the ballot in November. The Governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.  

    The accompanying bill to implement full legalization of marijuana (HB 837) also passed enrolled.  All the proponents see is green -- dollars-revenue.  Legalization will make using marijuana more acceptable and therefore increase its use particularly among young people.  The marketing of marijuana brownies, etc. will be a magnet for children. Marijuana is much stronger today than it was in the 1970's and can cause escalation of anger and violence in some young people with frequent use.   

    HB 937 - Abortion Care Access and Training Program with its $3.5 million annual tax dollar funding passed and is awaiting the Governor's action.  You can urge the Governor to veto this legislation by going to the website:  

    http://governor.maryland.gov.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "contact us", and then click on "Contact the Governor" and submit your message.  Or you can call the Governor's office at 410-974-3901 or 1-800-811-8336.

    Bills will move very quickly this week, so it is important to keep your eye on bad bills we don't want to pass as well as cheer for the progress of good bills.

    Among the "good" bills that passed last week and was signed by the Governor is SB 405 to provide a credit of $1,000 against state income tax for individuals 65 and over, or who are totally disabled, whose incomes are $100,000 or less.  Couples filing jointly with incomes up to $150,000 will received a credit of $1750.  

    There are many more actions in the Weekly Update.

    Thank you to each of you for all of your efforts to make conservative views known.



    Ella Ennis

    Legislative Chairman

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

  • Monday, March 28, 2022 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are 2 weeks and a day from the end of the 2022 Legislative Session.


    On Wednesday, March 30th, at 1 p.m. the Senate Finance Committee will hold its hearing on HB 1171 - Constitutional Amendment to add to the Declaration of Rights a Right to Reproductive Liberty.  This Right to Reproductive Liberty not only removes any rights or personhood from pre-born babies from conception to birth but it also leaves newborn babies unprotected during the perinatal period.

    We must expose how extreme these bills are as well as how vague, misleading and deceitful is the wording of the ballot question of the Constitutional Amendment contained in HB 1171.  All the voter will see is: 


    "Question ___ Constitutional Amendment

    The proposed amendment confirms an individual's fundamental right to the individual's own reproductive liberty and provides the State may not, directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.".


    It is deceitful in that it leaves out the wording of the actual amendment contained in HB 1171 which states: "That every person...has the fundamental right to reproductive liberty which includes the right to make and effectuate decisions regarding the individual's own reproduction, including but not limited to the ability to prevent, continue, or end their pregnancy..." 


    HB 626 (SB 669) - Pregnant Person's Freedom Act gives us a window to what "including but not limited to" could mean.  It would prohibit any investigation or penalty for a person "experiencing" a "perinatal death related to a failure to act". While the dictionary defines perinatal as the period from 20 weeks into pregnancy through 28 days of newborn life, the bill does not define perinatal.  It could extend much further than 28 days after birth.  A perinatal death due to a failure to act could occur if a newborn baby were not fed, given water, or kept warm. etc.


    Please email or call members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge an Unfavorable Report for HB 1171.


    Maryland Senate – Finance Committee e-mails:



    Remember that Constitutional Amendments do not go to the Governor.  If approved by the Senate HB 1171 will appear on the General Election ballot. 


    HB 937 - that commits $3.5 million a year of taxpayers' dollars to train abortion providers has passed 2nd reader in the Senate and will likely be up for final passage this week.  Please let your Senator know you oppose this bill.  How many poor children could receive dental care for $3.5 million a year? (Roster by County attached.)


    In another important area, I call your attention to bills listed under the Education heading of the Weekly Update.  Many children are performing below grade level in reading and math and other classes due to the long period out of the classroom. They need all of the opportunities in-class instruction can provide.  However, several bills are near passage that prohibit penalizing disruptive behavior in the classroom.  HB 0084 and SB0119 will remove penalties for disrupting the learning environment or committing offenses in the school they attend.  HB 0146 changes the law to only apply to offenses that occur off of school premises.


    At the same time, HB 0495 to authorize student organized peaceful demonstrations at school, during school hours has passed the House 96-40 and is in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.  Does this make sense with students falling farther behind in academic achievement? 


    Please continue to make your views known to Maryland's legislators. What you are doing is very important.




    Ella Ennis

    Legislative Chairman

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

    MFRW 2022 Legislative Update 3-27-22.docx


  • Monday, March 21, 2022 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Monday, March 21st is "Cross Over Day"--the last day for a bill to pass its original chamber and be guaranteed a hearing in the opposite chamber.  The clock is ticking away with 3 weeks to go in the 2022 legislative session.  Attached is the MFRW Weekly Legislative Update.  Check the Bill Status Column for action taken on bills during the last week. 

    This week the Senate Finance Committee will hear HB 0001, the Cannabis (marijuana) Legalization Constitutional Amendment and HB 837 - Cannabis Reform.  You can sign up to testify in person or submit written testimony beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 22nd until 10 a.m. on the hearing day - March 23.  I personally do not believe that Maryland will be well served by full legalization of marijuana.   

    The Abortion bills are also in the Senate Finance Committee but have not yet been scheduled for a hearing.  But it is likely that there will be some action this week. Please e-mail the members of the Senate Finance Committee to oppose HB 1171 and HB 937. 

    The 3rd Reader votes of the House of Delegates on HB 1171 Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Liberty and HB 937 the Abortion Care Access Act with its $3.5 Million annual budget mandate are attached.  Delegate Attar is the only Democrat who voted against HB 1171.  Five Dems voted against HB 937. All Republicans voted against both bills (Del. Arikan was absent). Voters need to know how their Delegates voted.   If you can, please consider sending a note of appreciation for their votes against HB1171 and HB 937. 

    There is very little media coverage of these extreme abortion bills.  Pease ask your Club members to post on their social media, send letters to the Editor, make calls to radio talk shows and share information with our churches and community organizations. (Attached are 2 example letters I have sent to newspapers. I don't know if they will be published.  They are long, but local papers will print longer letters). The multiplier impact will be greater than the sum of the individual letters, calls or social media posts.  The MFRW has 1480 members.  If each of us makes 5 contacts and encourages others to share, we can raise the public's awareness of this issue. 

    We must expose how extreme these bills are as well as how vague, misleading and deceitful is the wording of the ballot question of the Constitutional Amendment contained in HB 1171.  All the voter will see is: 

    "Question ___ Constitutional Amendment 

    The proposed amendment confirms an individual's fundamental right to the individual's own reproductive liberty and provides the State may not, directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.". 

    It is deceitful in that it leaves out the wording of the actual amendment contained in HB 1171 which states: "That every person...has the fundamental right to reproductive liberty which includes the right to make and effectuate decisions regarding the individual's own reproduction, including but not limited to the ability to prevent, continue, or end their pregnancy..." 

    HB 626 (SB 669) - Pregnant Person's Freedom Act gives us a window to what "including but not limited to" could mean.  It would prohibit any investigation or penalty for a person "experiencing" a "perinatal death related to a failure to act". While the dictionary defines perinatal as the period from 20 weeks into pregnancy through 28 days of newborn life, the bill does not define perinatal.  It could extend much further than 28 days after birth.   

    Thank you to everyone who has actively sent testimony, made calls, sent e-mails on these issues.  Your efforts keep democracy alive. 



    Ella Ennis 
    Legislative Chairman
    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

  • Monday, March 07, 2022 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to the many people who sent e-mails and made calls opposing HB 1171 and HB 937 this past two weeks.

    On Friday, Republican Delegates on the Health and Government Operations Committee spoke up for unborn babies and opposed HB 1171 that places the unlimited right to abortion in the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution. But the majority on the committee voted for a favorable report (vote attached).  Every Dem. voted for the bill; every Republican voted against the bill.  The Dems refused to use the word "Abortion" in the Constitutional Amendment to reduce the possibility that voters will actually know that this amendment will remove any rights of a preborn baby to life from conception to birth, and perhaps beyond.

    At the same voting session HB 937 - to establish a training program for abortion providers and a training fund paid for by Maryland taxpayers by imposing an annual budget mandate of $3,500,000.  It was mentioned that several states are restricting abortions and it is likely that more women will be seeking abortion services, so Maryland needs to increase the number of providers -- at TAXPAYERS EXPENSE. HB 937 was amended but I don't any information on the amendment as yet.  The Committee vote on HB 937 is attached - 16 Democrats voted in favor and 1 Democrat and all  7 Republicans voted No. 

    HB 1171 and HB 937 will be on the floor of the House of Delegates to vote on this week.  It is very important that we contact all Delegatesand urge them to vote against both HB 1171 and HB 937.  (List of all Delegates and Telephone Numbers are attached).Call or e-mail your own Delegate(s) first.  Then call or e-mail any additional delegates that you are able and have time to contact.

    In addition, on Friday, March 11, the House Health and Government Operations Committee will hold a hearing on HB 626, the Pregnant Persons Freedom Act of 2022. The Senate version, SB 669, is rescheduled for a hearing on March 15 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.  It continues the assault on pre-born babies to remove any restrictions on abortion and adds a provision to prohibit any investigation or penalty for a person terminating their pregnancy or "experiencing a perinatal death related to a failure to act."  Perinatal is defined in the dictionary as the period from the 20th week of gestation to the 28th day of newborn life."  We truly must oppose this bill. 

    There are many other bill hearings this week.  They are highlighted in red in the 3rd column of the Weekly Update.  Please take a few minutes to check them out.

    Several bills dealing with education and race, history, culture and social justice are being heard.  We all want every student and every teacher to be respected and have the ability to take advantage of all educational opportunities.  At the same time we need to oppose radical curriculums and programs that pit one race, or gender or ethnic group against another. SB 0888 proposes an advisory board to recommend content and instructional methods to challenge racist, sexist, gender, or ability assumptions, attitudes and behaviors when they occur using principles and practices of restorative justice methods including their disciplinary actions. SB 0888 goes beyond race to also encompass attitudes about sexual groups in their social equity standards.  Another bill related to these issues is SB 0666 and would deal with public and private primary and secondary schools and pre-kindergardens.

    There are numerous bills dealing with election processes that are being heard in the House Ways and Means Committee that we will want to support. Please review them and send supporting testimony and e-mails as you deem appropriate.

    We are approaching "crunch time" at the General Assembly.  There are 5 weeks left in the Session.  We will see the action move from the committees to the full House and Senate.  We must remain watchful and be willing to voice our support or opposition to the legislation reaching the floor.  Our Republican legislators are working very hard for our values and they need and deserve our support.

    On Tuesday, March 8, I hope you will attend our MFRW Legislative Red Scarf Day in Annapolis -- in person.  President Sharon has put together a great day for us.  We will have a chance to talk with Republican Senators and Delegates, enjoy a delicious brunch and learn new things.  



    Ella Ennis

    Legislative Chairman

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

    hb1171_hgo favorable rpt.pdf

    MFRW 2022 Legislative Update 3-06-22.docx

  • Monday, February 28, 2022 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you so very much to all who made telephone calls and sent e-mails opposing HB 1171 - to add a Right to Reproductive Liberty to the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution.   It helped.  At the Voting Session of the House Health and Government Operations Committee HB 1171 was held until the end and then the Chairman postponed consideration of amendments or voting on the three bills dealing with abortion and abortion funding and training until this coming Friday, March 4th.  

    We will send out an Alert on Wednesday. We need your telephone calls and e-mails on Thursday, March 3 to members of the HGO Committee to oppose  

    HB 1171 - Constitutional Amendment - Right to Reproductive Liberty

    HB 0937 - Abortion Clinical Care Training Program & Training Fund

    HB 0952 - Abortion Care and Health Insurance Act.

    While we have been focused on the Maryland General Assembly's action, The U.S. Senate will vote today on HR 3755 - Womens Health Protection Act.

    Please call the following Senators and urge them to vote AGAINST HR 3755.

    This legislation has already passed the House of Representatives. This is our last chance to stop it.

    Senator Ben Cardin - 202-224-4524

    Senator Chris Van Hollen - 202-224-4654

    Senator Susan Collins - 202-224-2523

    Senator Lisa Markowski - 202-224-6665

    HR 3755

    • Imposes abortion on demand nationwide throughout every stage of pregnancy  
    • Bans pro-life laws nationally AND in every state and local government 
    • Forces Americans to financially support abortions in the U.S. & abroad
    • Likely force health care providers to participate in abortions against their beliefs
    • Likely to force employers and insurers to cover or pay for abortion.

    I want to encourage you to review the bills under the Environment, Energy and Housing heading.  There is a strong effort to increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030 and beyond.  We need to focus on the impact on the reliability of our energy sources during bad weather events and the cost to individuals and businesses.  In addition, SB 871 (HB 1259) will have a hearing in the Senate EHE on March 3.  SB 871 - will require every local government to amend their zoining laws to allow accessory dwelling units in single-family residential communities with little to no restrictions.   

    Finally, I want to bring to your attention HB 832 to establish the Maryland Homeschooling Advisory Council.  HB 832 will be heard in the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, March 3.  One has to wonder if this bill will lead to requirements to teach subjects that homeschooling parents will oppose. 

    The Council membership is heavily oriented to large counties. 

    Thank you for all of your efforts. We are halfway through the Legislative Session. 

    I hope to see all of you at MFRW's Red Scarf Legislative Day on March 8. 



    Ella Ennis 

    Legislative Chairman 

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women 


    <MFRW 2022 Legislative Update 2-27-22.docx>

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At the MCFRW meeting on 3/6, we discussed how you can use the Maryland General Assembly website (mgaleg.maryland.gov) to "vote" (favorable or unfavorable) on individual bills, without having to write or present testimony! Thanks goes to material provided by RWRC for pointing out this option.

Here is the "how to" for this idea, and a spreadsheet with the nine bills you can vote on this Monday and Tuesday. I used one of the "vote on Monday" bills -- SB 567 -- in the "how to."


1. Click on the “myMGA” button at the top right of the mgaleg.Maryland.gov website. This assumes you have an account. If not, follow the directions on the site to make one. 

2. The MyMGA drop-down menu has a “sign in” button. Click that and put in your username and password. 

3. On the far left list of links, the second one says “witness signup.”  Click on it. 

4. A list of committees and their bills appears — only bills you can sign up for today will be there, so you will see Senate bills being heard the next business day, and House bills being heard two business days from today.  In the “committee” drop down menu, click on the Education, Energy, and the Environment committee, because that is the committee hearing SB 567.

5.  Click on the box to the left of SB 567. 

6.  Replace “Organization” with “Individual.”

7. Choose your "Position." Since this is a good, Republican-sponsored bill, click on "Favorable."

8. The “Testimony” drop-down menu gives you the option to click "None," which means you are not providing either oral or written testimony; you are just stating your "position," or "vote," on the bill!

9. Press “OK.”

10. Click on “save” — VERY IMPORTANT.

11. Click on “signed up items” to confirm the process worked. 

General Assembly Letter Templates

   Dear Club Members, 

   Thank you to Amy Waychoff for putting together the       following template that each of us can use when we     contact the General Assembly in Annapolis. 

 A few days ago, the General Assembly’s house judiciary committee heard their “Probation Not Deportation" bill from last year. Please use the following template -- changing the content as you see fit -- to voice your opposition to this attempt to keep illegal alien criminals from being deported. You need only insert:
-- your name
-- your address
-- your legislative district, if known
-- the number of years you have lived in Montgomery County/Maryland

Just copy and paste the email addresses listed below.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee,
My name is [INSERT NAME] and I have lived in Montgomery County for [INSERT NUMBER] years. I am writing in opposition to HB 193, “Probation Before Judgment -  Probation Agreements.” The purpose of this law is to prevent the deportation of illegal aliens who commit crimes. In fact, when this bill came up last year, HB 599, the author included the phrase, "Probation Not Deportation," in the title. 
This bill would change the Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) laws only for illegal aliens. Normally, offenders who use PBJ laws still have to admit guilt. But with HB 193, illegal aliens would go on probation without ever admitting guilt to a crime. Under federal law, PBJ is grounds for the deportation of illegal aliens. But if they do no not have to admit guilt, they don’t get deported. As Senator Michael Hough explained last year regarding HB 599, this bill would be unconstitutional: “Constitutionally, you can’t say, ‘Well you committed a crime but we’re going to pretend it’s not a guilty.’ And that’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to create a new fiction in the law where you committed a crime, you were found guilty, you were basically put on probation, and they’re then going to pretend it didn’t happen so you don’t get deported.”  
An illegal alien in such a case has already violated the laws of the United States by entering the country illegally. Then, the illegal alien committed a crime in Maryland. How many crimes do we allow illegal aliens to commit before deportation is deemed appropriate? 
When do we enforce the laws of our country? Where is the commitment to the safety of American citizens and legal immigrants? 
Please give HB 193 an unfavorable report.
Also this week, the House Ways and Means Committee heard two bills regarding Ranked Choice Voting, a convoluted voting system that disenfranchises voters, especially those in the minority party. Please send an email to the committee voicing your opposition:
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee,
My name is [INSERT NAME] and I have lived in Montgomery County for [INSERT NUMBER] years. I am writing in opposition to HB 344, “Montgomery County – Voting Methods MC 03–23.” 
There is not a lot of data about the effectiveness of RCV. However, one study in 2014 documented a problem called ballot “exhaustion,” whereby ballots are discarded in the second and subsequent rounds. This phenomenon happens, for example, when the voter marks only one or two candidates. The study concluded that RCV “does not ensure that the winning candidate will have received a majority of all votes cast, only a majority of all valid votes in the final round of tallying.” For example, Tony Santos, mayor of San Leandro, California, lost his re-election bid in 2010 due to RCV. After the first round, Santos led, but only with 36 percent of the vote. After six rounds, “the winner had 51 percent to Santos’ 49 percent of the remaining votes. The winner held a majority over Santos but his share of the total votes cast was 46 percent, not a majority.”*
There is also a lack of elemental fairness in RCV. Let’s say that the candidate you placed in the first spot on your ballot received the lowest amount of overall votes, and was therefore scratched from every ballot. Under RCV, your second choice candidate is then turned into your top choice. It’s as if you are given a second vote. Why should someone who voted for the most unpopular candidate in the first round get to influence the final election?
RCV is expensive. According to the Fiscal and Policy Note for HB 344, FY 2024 costs have been estimated at a whopping $2 million in Montgomery County alone: voting machines need to be configured with the proper software to implement RCV, and a large public information campaign must be undertaken because the system is so confusing. It would be more cost effective to hold a separate runoff election if the state wants to make sure the ultimate winner has a majority as opposed to a plurality of the vote. In a traditional runoff, everyone knows who the candidates are and has an equal voice in the outcome.

It is generally accepted that the higher the voter turnout, the more legitimate the election results. However, RCV is so confusing and convoluted that it would most likely lower turnout. Furthermore, research on decision-making has shown that as the number of choices increases, so does the individuals’ difficulty in making decisions. If one party is in the minority and only has one person on the ballot for a particular office, then that party would have to do a major education campaign to encourage its voters to “bullet vote,” which means voting only for one person on the ballot; otherwise the minority party would be giving the majority party an even greater chance of placing one of its candidates as the ultimate winner.
RCV encourages back-room deals, where two candidates have their supporters promise to vote for the other candidate as their second choice. Three years ago, the California state legislature voted for RCV, but Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill (SB 212): The Governor explained the reasons for his veto as follows: “Where it has been implemented, I am concerned that it has often led to voter confusion, and that the promise that ranked choice voting leads to greater democracy is not necessarily fulfilled.” Like the Governor, I believe that RCV requires much more study before it is used more widely. Therefore, please give HB 344 an unfavorable report.
*Craig M. Burnett, Vladimir Kogan, “Ballot (and voter) ‘exhaustion’ under Instant Runoff Voting: An examination of four ranked-choice elections,” Elsevier: Electoral Studies, Volume 37, March 2015.
Also this week, a (probably unconstitutional) gun bill was heard, this time by the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Please adapt this testimony from Sandy Tuttle into an email to the committee:

jeff.waldstreicher@senate.state.md us  
Chairman Will Smith and Members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee,
As a long time resident of Montgomery County, I am writing in opposition to SB 1, which would “prohibit a person from knowingly wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm onto the real property of another unless the other has given certain permission; prohibiting a person from knowingly wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm within a certain distance of a certain place of public accommodation and generally relating to restrictions on wearing, carrying, or transporting firearms.”
At a time when “we” are “reimagining policing," “defunding the police," and watching increasing crime in Montgomery County, which our own Police Chief, Marcus Jones, characterized as a "disturbing trend," Senator Waldstreicher's and Senator Lee's bill seeks to deprive law abiding citizens' of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 
In a world that is becoming increasingly dangerous, I am reminded of the words from former Washington D.C. Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier, when in a situation involving a gunman: "Your options are to run, hide, or fight," said Lanier. "If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there," she told Anderson Cooper. It will be at least 8 minutes once the police are called. Hmmmm and that was in 2015? I wonder about the 2023 time frame for police response? 

We cannot allow the continued erosion of our Bill of Rights in an increasingly dangerous world. Please do not allow SB 1 to move forward. 

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