Friday, April 03, 2009

The Problem with Retroactivity

The fate of Marc Norman and his union buddies’ petition drive to place CB58 on the ballot was debated in a senate hearing in Annapolis yesterday. According to this article by Larry Carson in The Sun, an emergency bill sponsored by Senator Ed Kasemeyer got a “warm reception” at the hearing.

“Local election boards have been using a looser standard for decades, and Kasemeyer and his backers said the court-imposed rules, adopted by the state election board last week, are too strict and are unfair.

"We are going to change it," State Sen. Roy Dyson, the committee vice chair told one witness who supports the bill.”

The tricky question surrounds the retroactive piece of the bill. Norman needs the emergency bill to be retroactive in order for his petition effort to derail the Harris Teeter supermarket in Turf Valley to survive. A few senators, including Senator Alan Kittleman, have a problem with this. They believe it could potentially open a huge can of worms.

If the bill is made retroactive for Marc Norman, Ruth Jacobs think it should be made retroactive for her as well. It was her petition drive in Montgomery County that resulted in the Court of Appeals ruling that started all this.

The question is where do you stop? If Jacobs has her way the bill would be made retroactive to 2007 instead of the December 2008 date that Mr. Ed has proposed.

What’s to keep someone from arguing that it should be pushed back even further?


Anonymous said...

hopefully this petition will finally die and everyone moves on....this has been shamelessly handled on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ed didn't give a correct answer to Senator Conway's question about signing her middle name or initial. She asked if her signature would be invalid if she used here middle initial instead of full middle name. Mr. Ed responded that was his understanding.

As was stated in one of your previous posts the law says:
"sign the individual’s name as it appears on the statewide voter registration list or the individual’s surname of registration and at least one full given name and the initials of any other names"

PZGURU said...

But if the Board of Elections staff are misinforming or misadvising people who are part of a petition drive, then something needs to be done. If the staff can't correctly explain the process or the rules, they should all be FIRED!

I can't say that the BOE staff are purposely misleading petitioners but it certainly seems to be that way given the pattern of dismissals.

The petition drivers followed what they were told to do.

I am normally not a proponent of retroactive laws, but in this case, the petitioners should be given the opportunity to redo it. I personally wouldn't sign the petition, but again, this comes down to people having the right to challenge the actions of the County and issues like this shouldn't get thrown aside because of a stupid technicality.

Anonymous said...

Some number of the petition takers were also giving out misinformation. Starting over is OK, but the current batch of signatures shouldn't be accepted.

Anonymous said...

The board of elections staff should be fired - gone.

Anonymous said...

I hope the "Mr. Ed" nickname sticks. I like it!

Anonymous said...

You haven't made your case in defining what would be so terrible about pushing it back even further. A few more shelved referendums might make it to the ballot, where the entire citizen public (minus felons, the insane, and minors) would still need to vote on each one 18 months from now?

RespectTheVote said...

If the new Board of Elec rules were applied to current elected office holders, many of them would be found to have illegally been placed on the ballot because their nominating petitions had signatures that do not meet the legal standards being applied to this referendum.

Which side are you on ..... citizen inclusion in the voting process or pulling obscure laws out of the books when it suits your political purpose?

motherteresa said...

Your derogatory reference to Senator Kasemeyer is typical for those with limited intelligence and grasp of the issues. Any complaint about his political position is fair game, but name calling reveals the impotence of your argument.

Choose Civility

wordbones said...


I'll have you know I hold Mr. Ed in the highest regard.


Charles said...

Dennis.... Even though Dubya was the lamest horse's ass to occupy the WH in generations, we still gave him the respect of saying Mr. President. Why are you and your ilk so devoid of decency to anyone or anything that you disagree with?

Anonymous said...


Why are you victimized by your readers? It's pretty uncommon for motherteresa to show up. Of course she is a saint to I guess she can move back and forth through the veil of life and death as she pleases. I find it interesting that she says "choose civility" and acts as if she believes in "choose hostility"
And who knows, Ed Kasemeyer might be complimented by being called Mr. Ed. Mr Ed exhibited a lot more common sense than the people in the show in the 1060's or was it the 1950's?
I certainly agree that Ed Kasemeyer should be held in high esteem in relation to that pack of elected buffoons, felons, misanthrops, and narcissistic congresspeople our nation has elected to Congress. I hope it's not an indication of a relative sampling of our nation but an indication of our naivete.
Keep up the good work WB.

Anonymous said...

The session is over and the bill was not voted on.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really surprised by that outcome?