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Del. LeRoy Myers: Recent session a bad one for Marylanders

April 17, 2013|By LeROY MYERS

This legislative session in Annapolis has been the worst for Marylanders in recent memory, certainly the worst of my 11 sessions. We have been pushed far to the left by Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is more concerned with winning the 2016 Democratic primary and scoring political points than governing our state.

The biggest issue was the gun control legislation (SB281), which is one on the most hostile bills in the nation toward gun owners. This is a violation of our liberty and places an extreme burden on citizen’s guaranteed rights. The Republicans in Annapolis and across the country were faced with fierce criticism and were viciously attacked when we proposed a bill that would require ID to vote.

I can’t imagine the outrage that would have ensued if we had proposed requiring fingerprinting to vote. Or imagine the outrage that would rightfully occur if we made people take a four-hour course on “civility in speech” before granting them the freedom of speech.

Of course since it is the Second Amendment, and not another amendment, that is under attack, the Democrats could care less because it is a constitutional right they seem to disagree with.

If you want to buy a handgun in the future you will need to be fingerprinted and pay for a background check as well as taking (and paying) for a four-hour safety course.

The only good news is that we managed to make some common sense changes to the bill such as exempting all law enforcement officers as well as all active duty military personnel older than 21. In addition, all current guns and guns purchased by Oct. 1 are exempt from this legislation.

I am proud to have voted against this bill along with every other delegate from Western Maryland. I received hundreds of phone calls to my office from residents of Allegany and Washington counties and not a single person called to support this bill.

On fiscal issues, the gas tax (HB1515) is set to nearly double from 23 cents per gallon to 44.5 cents per gallon by 2017. This means when you fill up your 20-gallon tank, you will be paying $12 in state and federal gas taxes. These tax increases are the last thing we need right now.

The Democrats previously resisted efforts for a Transportation Trust Fund “lock-box” which would have stopped Gov. O’Malley from raiding more than $1 billion from transportation. This year they created a lock-box of their own (SB829), the problem is they hold the key. The money can be taken out with a three-fifths majority vote, which the Democrats can easily do.

Beginning in 2018, there will be an additional charge on all electric bills in Maryland. We will begin to subsidize a massive off-shore wind project at a cost to ratepayers of $112 million a year. The cost of this form of energy is more than twice as expensive as conventional forms of energy and the project itself is projected to lose more than $1.4 billion over the 20-year life of the project.

SB 715 authorizes the MVA to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards to illegal immigrants. These “second tier” licenses could not be used for federal purposes such as purchasing a firearm, boarding a flight or entering a federal building. I opposed SB 715 because there is no way to reliably verify an applicant’s identity, multiple licenses could be issued to the same person. And with Maryland being the only state on the East Coast to issue licenses to illegal immigrants, our state becomes a gateway for those seeking to obtain ID for questionable purposes.

Additionally, the two-tiered ID system downgrades all Maryland-issued driver’s licenses and IDs and makes Maryland noncompliant with the Federal REAL ID Act. Once this measure goes into effect, no Maryland-issued ID may be used for federal purposes, including boarding a plane or entering a federal building. We offered amendments to require fingerprinting of illegal immigrants who were issued an ID, and to make the second-tier ID a different color, both of which were soundly rejected.

Thank you for your continued support, I am so lucky to have constituents who understand how bad this governor has been for Maryland. Now we just need the rest of Maryland to figure that out.

Del. LeRoy Myers, R-Washington, represents District I-C in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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