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Washington County reps propose resolutions

February 15, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Sen. Christopher B. Shank wants to keep the federal government from abusing its constitutional powers.

Del. Neil C. Parrott is calling for Maryland to enforce federal immigration laws.

Sen. George C. Edwards is hoping to get Garrett County, Md., access to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., television stations.

All three Republicans have proposed state resolutions promoting their causes.

Mixed in with 2,500 or so bills in Annapolis each year are a handful of proposed resolutions, which usually are nonbinding statements voicing a position.

Shank's proposed resolution, scheduled for a committee hearing today, emphasizes Maryland's sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It says four developments eroded states' authority: federal overreaching, unreasonable interpretations of the Constitution's commerce clause, the threat of withholding federal funds for noncompliance and states' failure to challenge "federal intrusions."

The resolution is be a "Notice and Demand to the government of the United States, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers...." Copies would be sent to the president, top members of Congress and Maryland's U.S. senators and representatives.

Parrott's resolution says an "illegal alien invasion" causes an increase in violent crimes, gangs and public-health threats and takes away American jobs.

Because Congress won't act, Maryland should "Demand the elimination of all sanctuary policies in the State, require the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws, and require law enforcement to turn over all illegal aliens to federal authorities for removal from the United States, and where necessary before removal, trial and punishment for their criminal activity ...," the resolution says.

"The purpose of the resolution is to bring it into the spotlight, to let people see this is a problem. Maryland is a sanctuary state, but we shouldn't be," said Parrott, who also filed a version of Shank's resolution in the House.

Shank said the new federal health care bill requiring people to get insurance is one example of federal overreaching. Others are in education, environmental measures and gun control.

He described his resolution as "a pointed reminder to our federal representatives that we live in a federalist nation that was created by the 13 colonies under the United States Constitution and efforts to dismantle our federalist system are not appreciated."

Edwards is pushing for a more specific, tangible change through his resolution, which a Senate committee heard Tuesday.

He said he wants Garrett County — the only Maryland county the FCC has put in the Pittsburgh TV region — to have a chance to get programming, including news shows and sporting events, from Maryland's metro area. Currently, other than the Hagerstown network affiliate, only Pennsylvania and West Virginia stations are available, Edwards said.

Maryland's members of Congress should press the Federal Communications Commission to amend its TV market determinations, his resolution says.

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