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Thinks Kuster Stopped Short!

January 23, 2002

I enjoyed Mr. Kuster's column on our Republic, but I think he may be a little confused between "referendum" and "initiative". Laws are not enacted by referendum. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, "Procedures for Filing a Statewide or a Public Local Law Referendum" as well as Article XVI of the Maryland State Constitution says essentially the same thing (this part is directly from the Maryland Constitution):

SECTION 1. (a) The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor.

He is right, however, about the referendum specialists as well as the "poor-loser" attitude that many groups take when something doesn't go the way they want it-for example the recent attempt at removing (by referendum) the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2001, and the "poor-loser" attitude the Democrats took when Gore/Lieberman lost the election.

He also brings up a very important point toward the end of his column:

"Let's hold true to our founding principles and, most importantly, the Constitution of the United States of America. If not, we're going to lose it!"

I would venture to state that we are losing it and have been losing it with the incessant bloat of our federal government. The founding fathers wrote an amazing document when they created the Constitution. It was not too vague to allow for too many incorrect interpretations, yet was not too specific so it is flexible and viable today, more than 200 years later.

When are we going to hold those who take elected office accountable for their actions? When federal elected officials take the oath of office, they swear to uphold the Constitution, then immediately start to write or support legislation that the federal government has no business engaging in, such as public education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, ATF, the DEA, and any other alphabet soup agency that they have created end-on-end, and no one seems to care about this.

The only "referendum" we really need, is to "refer" right out of Washington the politicians who don't insist on reducing the size of federal government back to it constitutionally mandated functions.

Michael Barnes, Frederick


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