Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway dislikes a certain popular bill, so it probably won’t pass. Why not? Is she so charismatic that she can persuade most fellow lawmakers to vote down any bill she dislikes?
No. Conway chairs the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. Although most committee members support this particular bill, she can kill it just by declining to bring it up for a vote. Then it won’t matter what anybody else thinks — in the committee, the senate, or the whole state.
The bill in question would simply allow direct shipment of wine to Maryland. That’s it. Prohibition was repealed some time ago. But there are still many silly laws regulating how liquor may be distributed and sold, laws that have nothing to do with protecting the public.
Annapolis commentator Eric Hartley argues for legislative term limits, saying it would help break up Maryland’s undemocratic committee system. Yes, but voters need the right of citizen initiative even more — so they can GET the term limits, for one thing.
Maryland citizens do have referendum rights, the right to exercise the “People’s Veto.” But lawmakers have been making it very difficult lately to exercise that veto. Let’s hope the courts strike down those restrictions. And that voters find a way to pass liberty-expanding ballot measures on their own even when their representatives won’t or can’t.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.