There has been a huge brouhaha in the State of Maryland over the passage of SB 167. Supposedly, this bill allows Illegal Aliens to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges.
This isn’t exactly the case. But, first I thought it would be interesting to look at the tactics being employed by those against the bill.
First, why is any one against this bill? Well, quite obviously it benefits certain communities and will help obtain votes for the next election. Decrying the bill is not likely to sway many voters away from O’Malley, but if the bill is over-turned, it would tend to make the Democrats look weak and ineffectual. There are many talking points being employed – taxpayer money going to support illegal aliens, illegal aliens are criminals – why are we helping criminals, etc. Of course, few actually bother to READ the bill, and this is the next point I want to address.
There is a petition being circulated with the intention of adding a referendum to revoke the bill. Signatures must be gathered to add the referendum to the ballot. The text of the bill must be presented on the back of the petition. The text, as presented, is essentially unreadable. I tried to read it on a huge monitor in a large font and could barely follow it. What is the trick? Use long, long lines of text, of course. The eye does not track lines of text over about 5.5″ inches. Make long lines, and you can pretty much guarantee no one can read what you wrote. I have stored a copy of the Petition Signature Page here. See if you can read the bill as presented on the back of the petition.
It gets even better. When the petition is printed, the lines showing the actual bill are nearly eleven inches long. This pretty much makes the bill unreadable.Try it for yourself. Can you read this? This leaves the potential signer completed at the mercy of the talking points being espoused by the volunteer.
Instead, why not take a look at the actual bill. This is not very easy to read, either, but this is the nature of law and format our laws are generated in. At least the line length is readable and your head won’t explode while trying.
The petition’s presentation is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to glaze over the eyes of whoever is targeted to sign the petition so they listen volunteer’s talking points, and not read what the law actually says.
Hopefully, in the next few days, I will get a chance to either generate a fully readable copy of the law, or find a link to someone who has already done this work. Additionally, I will want to define some terms referenced in the document, with the intention of coming up with the truth on what this bill actually does.
Then we can come up with some actual talking points, including the costs and benefits to society, and, if you actually read the bill, how those costs will be monitored by the state and the legislature.
The petition and talking points are being managed by MDpetitions.com, c/o Neil Parrott/. At this time, the site seems to be targeted at this just this issue.
A technical analysis of the fiscal impact the bill is likely to have was prepared.
This is a copy of an email I received urging me to sign the petition.
From lxxxxxu Sun May 22 19:xxxxxxxx1
Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 19:xxxxx -0400
To: Undisclosed recipients: ;
Subject: Petition Drive to Overturn In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants
Petition Drive to Overturn In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants
The just-ended 2011 Legislative Session was a difficult one for believers in limited government, lower taxes and the rule of law. Among the more objectionable pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly was the "Dream Act" (SB 167). Under the Dream Act, illegal immigrants will be given the privilege of paying only the heavily-discounted (and taxpayer subsidized) in-state tuition rate at public universities, colleges and community colleges rather than the out-of-state tuition rate. Previously, only Maryland citizens had access to the in-state rate of tuition. Thus, Maryland taxpayers will pay approximately $11,000 in subsidies per illegal immigrant per year for each year in a Maryland public university or college.
Many Maryland taxpayers cannot even afford to pay for their own children to attend college, and yet we are now being FORCED to pay for illegal immigrants to attend a Maryland college.
This legislation, forced through by Governor O'Malley and Speaker Busch, is an insult to Maryland citizens and to the many legal immigrants who respected our laws, played by the rules, and came to our Country legally. The Dream Act grants yet another State benefit to illegal immigrants and, in my judgment, is part of an ongoing effort by the political leadership of our State to make Maryland a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.
And, remember, this new benefit is in addition to the $1.5 billion Maryland taxpayers already pay for services offered to illegal immigrants, including free health care, pre-k through 12th public education, welfare, and other entitlements previously reserved for U.S. citizens.
But, we can still stop this new law from being enacted.
Under the Maryland Constitution, voters have the right to overturn legislation. To do so, the first step is to get the legislation onto the ballot. This will require obtaining 55,000 confirmed signatures by the end of June. My colleague in the House of Delegates, Neil Parrott, is taking the lead in organizing a drive to gather these signatures and to put the Dream Act on the ballot for the 2012 election.
To succeed, we will need your help. We need folks to gather signatures beginning immediately. Here's what you can do:
1. Click on the following link to learn more about the petition process, to sign the petition, and to obtain the necessary documents: http://www.mdpetitions.com/.
2. Sign the Petition: On the web site, select "Sign the Petition" for you and your family to sign the petition.
3. Print Out the Forms Needed to Gather Signatures: On the web site, click on "Volunteer to Collect Signatures" and print out the Petition and instructions. Once printed, ask your family, friends, work colleagues and others for their signatures. You do not need permission to gather signatures - doing so is your Constitutional right.
IMPORTANT: The petition must be TWO SIDED with SB 167 on the back. After printing the first side of the Statewide Referendum Petition, return the page to your printer and print the second page on the back side of the first page. Or make your own copies.
PLEASE NOTE: Election officials require that information written on a petition form be clear and complete . It is IMPERATIVE that:
- all information be very clearly written;
- all information on the form be filled in, including the name of the County and your contact information;
- signers fill in their name AS IT APPEARS ON THEIR VOTER CARD or, if the voter card format is unknown, using their FULL NAME, including middle name;
- all information be entered into the correct space on the form (e.g., street address and name of city are separate spaces).
4. Mail your completed form or forms to: MDPetitions.com, c/o Neil Parrott, PO Box 32, Funkstown, MD 21734
5. Forward this email to your friends and colleagues.
Don H. Dwyer, Jr.