By Delegate Mike McDermott
I have been contacted by many individuals during the past few weeks regarding balloting questions and referendums. Here is a summary of those questions and my commentary:
- Orphan’s Court-Prince George’s County...Would require Orphans Court Judges in Prince Georges County to be members of the Maryland Bar (attorneys). This is specific to Prince Georges County and requested by their delegation members. All of their current Orphan Court Judges are already attorneys and it was expressed that an Orphans Court Judge (who is an attorney) can conduct certain hearings without the need for other judges which saves time and energy. I will be voting “Yes”.
- Orphan’s Court-Baltimore County...Would require Orphans Court Judges in Baltimore County to be members of the Maryland Bar (attorneys). This is specific to Baltimore County and requested by their delegation members. All of their current Orphan Court Judges are already attorneys and it was expressed that an Orphans Court Judge (who is an attorney) can conduct certain hearings without the need for other judges which saves time and energy. I will be voting “Yes”.
- Removal of Elected Officials...Would prevent corrupt elected officials convicted of a crime from profiting from their elected office and would remove them from office. It is long overdue. I will be voting “Yes”.
- Benefits for Illegal Immigrants...Would allow illegal immigrants to receive In-State tuition rates at Maryland State Colleges and Universities if they attended Maryland Public Schools. Montgomery County opted to provide this type of tuition rate at their local community college and it has cost them millions in tax dollars. Since those receiving the break would be counted against the Out-of-State tuition numbers, this would result in budget shortfalls as we count on those out of state students to subsidize the cost for our resident students. We should not reward illegal behavior at the taxpayers expense. I will be voting “No”.
- Gerrymandered Redistricting...Would approve the Redistricting Maps drawn up by the governor and his committee. These Congressional maps represent some of the worst gerrymandering in the country and will make it a real challenge to elect more conservatives to congress. We need to have these maps redrawn by the courts. I will be voting “No”.
- Gay and Lesbian Marriage...Would change the definition of marriage in Maryland to include homosexual marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is a foundation stone of our society and should not be changed. “I will be voting “No”.
- Expanded Gaming...Would expand gaming in Maryland to include table games and would add a sixth casino site at National Harbor in Prince Georges County. It alters the tax on casinos(currently the highest in the country) and provides $300 million in school construction funds. The bill also allows Veteran organizations across Maryland to have up to 5 non-profit slot machines with the proceeds directed to our Veterans. Locally, it will also stop the flow of over $2 million dollars currently paid out to Baltimore City and Prince Georges County from local impact fees at Ocean Downs. This money would stay on the Eastern Shore for our local government needs. There will be over a thousand jobs involved in construction projects related to the expansion and a billion dollar investment in Maryland. It will also create hundreds of other good paying jobs at each casino and keep Maryland money in Maryland. West Virginia and Delaware have filled out mailboxes and spent tens of millions trying to discourage us from approving this bill. This is not about gaming in Maryland, it is about the business of gaming. For this reason along with the vast local benefits, I will be voting “Yes”.