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June 3, 2013

Effort to put Maryland repeal of death penalty before state voters in 2014 fails

As reported in this local article, headlined "Petition drives to overturn Md. death-penalty repeal and gun laws both fail; Efforts don’t clear first hurdle in referendum process," it now appears that Maryland voters will not have a chance to weigh in directly concerning the recent repeal of the death penalty in the Old Line State.  Here is how the article gets started:

Two separate petition drives — one to place Maryland’s newly adopted law repealing the state’s death penalty before voters in 2014, the other to send the state’s new gun laws to the ballot in 2014 — have failed, according to the sponsors of each effort.

“We collected over 15,000 total signatures,” Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Dist. 2A) of Hagerstown, who led the death penalty petition, told reporters in Frederick on Friday. “This amount, however is not enough.” A total of 18,579 valid signatures was due to state officials by the end of Friday for each petition drive to continue.

Parrott, chairman of the nonprofit group MDPetitions.com, began the petition effort after Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed the repeal into law May 2. MDPetitions.com collected enough signatures to take three bills to referendum in the 2012 election. None, however, was supported by voters.

On Friday, Parrott said if Maryland’s death-penalty repeal had gone before voters, it would have been overturned, citing an unsuccessful attempt in 2012 to repeal California’s death penalty through a ballot initiative.

Parrott was joined by Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who said he wanted to keep the death penalty for the sake of crime victims and their families. “This was a monumental task, and we fell short. We’re obviously disappointed in that,” Shellenberger said. “One day, we’re going to wake up and something really, really bad is going to happen, and we’re going to wonder why we don’t at least have [the death penalty] as an option.”

The repeal measure, sponsored by O’Malley, passed the state Senate 27-20 and the House 86-52 during this year’s General Assembly session.

Jane Henderson, executive director of the nonprofit Maryland Citizens Against State Executions, said repeal supporters are relieved and “very pleased” that the petition drive fizzled. “Most Marylanders are comfortable with [the repeal],” Henderson said. “There just isn’t much fire around this issue on the other side. It’s time to move on.”

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June 3, 2013 at 03:21 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Couldn't get 18,579 signatures? Then like Obama & co., e.g. Holder, Shulman, & Lerner, you get what you deserve.

Was it a "monumental task"?

"‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." - John Stuart Mill, St. Andrews, 2/1/1867

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 3, 2013 9:29:03 PM

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