Several Controversial Md. Bills Could Wind Up on 2014 Ballot

ANNAPOLIS, MD - The Maryland General Assembly ended its 2013 session on Monday after passing about 600 bills, many of which remain controversial, but voters may get the final say on several of them.


Governor Martin O'Malley's gun control package passed in the Maryland House of Delegates last week, but the fight is far from over.


"I'm hearing from constituents all over the state, certainly in Hagerstown and all over my area and southern Washington County. They're very concerned about what's happened here in Annapolis, and they want to have a say," says Del. Neil Parrott, (R) Washington County.


People across the state could get a say through referendums on the 2014 ballot.


Parrott is chairman of and is considering a petition drive for eight controversial bills.


"They're not without answer, they do have to answer to people they represent here in Annapolis," Parrott says. "Right now, they think they're just a runaway train, and they can do whatever they want. The brakes just have to be put on that train, and the best way to do that is through the referendum process."


Parrott is gauging interest on the bills people would like to see on the ballot through an online and mail survey.


Some of the bills he's considering holding a petition drive for include the gun control package, the death penalty repeal and off-shore wind energy. Giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and requiring all teachers to pay union dues are two of the other bills that could be on the ballot in 2014. The other bills Parrott is considering a petition drive for include same-day voter registration, the health progress act and new requirements for petitions.


The idea received positive feedback from people in Frederick, Md.


"I definitely think it's a great idea to have them on there. I'm not strongly for some of the ones, such as having illegal immigrants being able to have a driver's license. I definitely wouldn't be okay with that one, but I think it's good to get an opinion on all of those," Taylor Wiles says.


"I definitely think they should be on the ballot of people's opinions. It doesn't mean you have to vote yes or no for either of them or any of them," Sarah Taylor says.


Parrott helped to get three laws on the ballot in 2012.


"Even though all three lost at the ballot box, so many people have come up to me and said, 'We're disappointed they lost, but we're so thankful that at least we had a chance to vote on it. At least we had our input on what these questions were,' and I believe we can win at the ballot box," Parrott says.


Parrott says he's going over results and could decide on which bills to begin a referendum drive for as early as next week.


Organizers must collect at least 56,000 valid signatures by the end of June to get a bill passed this year-as a referendum on the 2014 ballot.

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