The following was received from the office of Del. Rick Impallaria:
I have two interesting pieces of legislation which I plan to introduce in the 2010 session. The first one is a direct result of bad legislation which I fought against, and voted against last session. In their infinite wisdom the General Assembly, over loud objections from myself and other members of my party, felt it was time to allow convicted felons released from prison to have the right to vote. Yes, this includes murderers, rapists and child molesters.
I find it offensive that these people would ever be allowed to have the right to vote, let alone, in many cases, to have the right to walk among us in society. On the floor of the House I asked the sponsor of the bill, Delegate Cardin, whether a convicted felon who had raped and murdered one of my loved ones and who was released from jail could be standing next to me in the voting line. Del. Cardin first attempted to dance around this yes-or-no question, but when pressed for a direct answer, admitted that it is possible, even probable. I was offended by the answer, offended that this bill passed, and even more offended that I am now forced to introduce this very important legislation to help mitigate some of the damage the General Assembly will cause by this law.
My legislation will ban anyone who regains their voting rights after committing a felony from ever voting at a polling place. They will have to register with the State Board of Elections as a restored voting rights felon who will only be permitted to vote by absentee ballot. I realized the importance of this step during the last election when, to reach the voting booths, I had to walk past a day care class. I realized that many polling places are located at schools, churches, and recreation centers — all places that sexual offenders are forbidden to go, except for this loophole created by the General Assembly’s passage of this absolutely stupid legislation allowing felons to vote.
The second piece of legislation has arisen due to the bad economy. State employees have been forced to take furlough days. While furloughing employees may at times be preferable to layoffs, I think it is also absolutely appalling for the State to force furloughs on the employees, while elected officials are exempt. It is especially reprehensible in a year in which the State of Maryland, through its budget, has increased its spending. It is wrong to ask State employees to take home less money this year, when the State has refused to make the same sacrifice by curtailing spending. And elected officials are not even required to take furloughs.
So my legislation simply is that the State of Maryland cannot force furloughs on State employees in a year that the State budget has increased compared to the previous year, unless the Governor calls an emergency session to reduce the State budget to the prior year’s funding. Then and only then should they be allowed to furlough State employees. At the same time, those furloughs should be mandatory on everyone who receives a State paycheck, including elected officials.
Needless to say neither of these bills would have been necessary if, first, the State had not given voting rights to convicted felons and, second, they had held to a flat-line budget equal to or less than last year’s.
I would like your comment and support on these ideas. Thank you.
Delegate, District 7