A bill changing the state’s petition process could make it harder for voters to bring controversial laws to referendum. The Referendum Integrity Act will be among numerous bills debated in Annapolis Thursday that could fundamentally change state election law.
Opponents say the bill by Democratic Dels. Eric Luedtke, Jon Cardin, Sheila Hixson, Anne Kaiser and Jolene Ivey – all members of the House Ways & Means Committee that will hear the bills, including chair Hixson — will diminish the public’s ability to petition laws to the ballot. Filled with new rules, regulations and signature disqualification penalties, the effort is seen as an attempt to effectively kill the referendum process as it is exists today.
“This bill, HB493, is offensively called the ‘Referendum Integrity Act,’” said Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington County, founder of MdPetitions.org, the online petition system that jumpstarted the referendum process in Maryland last year. “This bill puts excessive requirements on anyone who collects signatures;