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Maryland General Assembly Update Week 10
It is hard to believe that the 2018 session is about to end. It feels as if this session had begun yesterday. Here are some hot topics for the week:
- Same Day Voter Registration HB532 – Creates a constitutional amendment allowing people to register to vote on the same day they vote.
- Secure and Accessible Registration Act SB1048 – Changes electronic voter registration agencies (MVA) to automatic voter registration agencies.
- School Safety – The General Assembly has included funding for several programs to address school safety.
- Delegate Scholarship Deadline April 15th
Same Day Voter Registration HB532
General Assembly has passed HB532 which will put a constitutional amendment question on the November ballot. This will ask if voters are in favor of allowing people to register to vote at the precinct polling place on Election Day. I have to say this is one of the more underhanded bills that the General Assembly passed. Now I am all for giving someone the best opportunity to vote, but having someone register to vote on the same day they vote takes things too far. Needless to say, this would create an environment ripe for voter fraud. The good news is you have the opportunity to vote against this measure on the November Election Ballot. I voted against this bill.
Secure and Accessible Registration Act SB1048
Under current law, a person has the choice to register to vote while renewing their driver’s license. However, this bill creates an automatic system which registers people to vote when interfacing with state agencies (MVA, MD Heath Exchange, Mobility Certification Office in the MTA, and local Social Services Departments) using the information provided to the agency. A person will be told they are being registered to vote or having their voter registration information updated. If a person knows the law, they can opt out of the service, but will not originally be given this option. In essence this bill takes away the individual responsibility of the people and gives it to the state. Additionally, it adds an unnecessary person to the process who could influence party affiliation. I voted against this bill.
I want you to know that the School shooting at Great Mills High School continues to be heavy on my mind. I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and I am thankful that the school resource officer was there to intervene. I believe regardless of our political views, we can all agree there is more we can do to improve school safety. As such, the budget includes several provisions to address school safety. The plan is to:
- provide grants to schools at risk for hate crimes,
- provide grants for mandatory school safety assessments,
- set up a special fund to provide grants to enforce school safety,
- set up an operating fund to increase resources to monitor school safety, and
- provide for school safety capital improvements.
While this is not the end all solution, I feel that it is a great first step to improve school safety and security. Governor Hogan has also submitted additional provisions forfunding school safety.
The April 15th deadline for the Delegate Scholarship is fast approaching. Please share this opportunity with all graduating seniors, current undergrad and grad students, and those looking to further their education so that they can take advantage of this opportunity. The link for the scholarship is:
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you. Next week will be the last full week of the 2018 Legislative Session.
Delegate Jerry Clark