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  • Friday, February 18, 2022 9:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The deadline for submission of bills is past.  All bills being introduced late must go to the Rules Committee for approval. Bills are being voted on during floor sessions. See the 2nd column from the right margin of the attached Weekly Update for action and status of bills.  Bills with hearings this week are highlighted in red and those for Monday and Tuesday of next week are highlighted in blue in 3rd column from right.

    Beginning today, ALL SENATE HEARINGS will be IN-PERSON. The window to sign up to testify on Senate bills has been changed as well.  Sign-ups will take place through the MyMGA account, from 4 p.m. the day prior to the hearing until 10 a.m. on the day of the hearing. 

    House hearings remain VIRTUAL at this time.  Sign-ups must still take place two business days prior to the hearing.

    This week there are hearings on several important bills dealing with Immigration. If you have not signed up to testify in support of HB 756 - Correctional Services - transfers to Federal Authority of Undocumented Immigrants convicted of crimes or who are active members of criminal gangs or who are suspected of espionage, please call or e-mail the members of the Ways and Means Committee today or tomorrow morning and request a FAVORABLE Report for HB 756.  See MFRW testimony attached.

    On February 22, HB 928 will be heard in the Environment & Transportation Committee. HB 928 will prohibit a person from disclosing information regarding a person's actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status WITHOUT a Federal Court order to any other person, including an immigration authority or a law enforcement agency.    From my ordinary citizen viewpoint, this appears to be a violation of every citizen's 1st Amendment right of free speech.

    SB 550 on transgender rights to allow biological males, who identify as female, to be housed in women's corrections facilities is being heard in the Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 17. Testimony must be submitted today.  It is the companion bill to HB 453 that was heard last week.  The safety of women inmates in correctional facilities need to be protected. Transgender inmates should be housed in separate facilities.  MFRW testimony on SB 550 is attached.

    Please review the full Weekly Update.  There are many bills of concern under consideration by the General Assembly.



    Ella Ennis

    Legislative Chairman

    Maryland Federation of Republican Women

    SB 550 gender ID - correctional facilities - MFRW OPPOSED -final.pdf

    MFRW 2022 Legislative Update 2-13-22.docx

    HB 756 - Transfers to Fed. Auth. - MFRW - SUPPORT - final.pdf

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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."


On Monday, March 13, between 8 am and 3 pm, do the following:

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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