Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Freedoms in Maryland

Another new Newman for Maryland post is up, this one is about personal freedoms in the state of Maryland. Read the entire articlehere. Here's an excerpt -
We the people of Maryland live in what is called the "Free State." Yet, if we were to adjust our nickname based on the findings of the quantitative study performed by George Mason University Professors William P. Ruger and Jason Sorens, Maryland should be called the "Restricted State." If you turn to the 33rd page of the linked PDF, you can read the executive summary of the lack of economic and personal freedoms in the state of Maryland. To directly quote the Professors, "Maryland’s impositions on personal freedom include the second-strictest gun laws in the country, and marijuana laws are fairly harsh (except that the first offense of high-level possession is a misdemeanor, and there is a weak medical marijuana law), motorists’ freedoms are highly restricted, gambling laws are tight, home schooling laws are burdensome (curricula must be approved by the government), centralized land-use planning is very advanced, eminent domain abuse is totally unreformed, victimless crimes arrest rates are high, and civil unions are not recognized." Our state restricts many of the individual freedoms endowed by our Creator and codified in our Constitution. How should we address these issues? I will focus on a two of these freedoms today - eminent domain and motorist freedoms. Same-sex marriage will be a topic for another day.

Following the decision of Kelo v. New London, the entire nation attempted to repair the assumed freedom from eminent domain laws that had been torn asunder by this ruling. In Maryland, the Property Protection Act of 2006 was proposed. This would have amended the State Constitution to abolish the act of taking private property for private economic development. State seizure of property would be limited only to public use of the property such as schools, parks, or roads. Under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), the person would also be compensated for said seizure. The amendment never came to pass and was never brought before the voters. This is an important issue. Property rights need to be protected or they will become so diluted that the government can seize your house by a vote of a County Council in order to make way for a new shopping plaza. Since the federal Constitution allows it, according to the Supreme Court, we must act at home to make certain that our State Constitution is clear. I would support a reintroduction of this amendment to protect our property rights.

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