Ten Rules to Being a More Effective Legislator

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Congratulations to the incoming Senators and Delegates for the 2015 legislative session. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of today because tomorrow the real hard work should begin. I have a few suggestions for a successful session.

1. Pick up a pocket constitution and actually read it at least once a week. It is the only thing you take an oath to follow and defend so you should know what it says.
Most of your fellow legislators will never have done so, nor will they, so this will put you at an immediate and permanent advantage.

2. Learn the rules of the legislature, the House has rules, the Senate has rules and there are Mason’s rules which cover the Parliamentary procedure. You can not win an argument or floor strategy without knowing the rules of the game. The game is fixed (the Parliamentarian is a member of the majority party) and you will lose, even when the rules are on your side, because the House (Leadership) always wins. Never the less, you need to know the rules to be as effective as possible.

3. Learn to count. There are different percentages required for different votes and parliamentary actions. Various committees operate differently. If you know the rules you can participate, if you do not know the numbers necessary to achieve a goal, passing something or defeating something you are much less effective.

4. Make your word count. If you give your word, stand by it, if things change which require you to change, (a bill that said do A is amended to do B and you can no longer support it) then go to those you gave your word and explain why you are no longer on board. It is not worth playing politics with your credibility and good name. Once you lose either, they are irretrievably gone.

5. Look for ways to keep your promises to your constituents not for ways to rationalize around them. You will be threatened and bribed, including by your own party, to make an exception to those promises. Once you give in, then there is no turning back, leadership will now know you can be pressured or bribed, it is just a matter of enough pressure or high enough price. What most never realize is that no matter how angry leadership gets at you, no matter how much pressure is put on you, it is fleeting, because in mins, hours or days your vote will be needed again on another important matter.

6.Don’t bloviate. If you rise to speak, do it with passion and purpose. Those who get up to speak to hear themselves speak quickly become a signal to those used to hearing you speak that it is time to take a bathroom break or to stretch their legs.
You want your audience to be silent, cheering or booing. Yes, booing is good, it means they are listening. If everything has been said, everyone does not need to have said it. So don’t be afraid to speak. Pressing the correct button to vote is not enough, passionate debate is important, just choose when to participate and people will be more inclined to listen.

7. Be honest with the press. If you don’t want to talk about a subject don’t go on camera or do an interview and try to be politically correct where you avoid being honest. I would occasionally tell the reporters, I don’t have strong feelings on that subject but delegate so and so does so you may want to speak to them. The reporter gets a better story and most appreciate your honesty. The less you say, when answering the question is usually better. A five minute interview usually ends up being 30 seconds or less on air or one or two catch phrases printed. So, those issues I am more intimately involved in I try to have something ready to say about if a reporter asks for a comment.

8.Remember the power of No. No is an answer. It is not the answer most want to hear but it is an answer. Don’t forget that you can say, No. You will be asked to do things you do not want to do or which you do not believe in and you need to feel comfortable saying No. There is much to do and time spent working on things halfheartedly because you were afraid to say No, is time away from those important matters you should be working on.

9. Enjoy the experience. You can develop some great friendships serving in the legislature. It might be with fellow legislators, advocates, staff, or the press. Some of my closest friends became those who are from across the isle. You may not agree politically on 99% of things but get along fine otherwise. Sometimes, you find that the 1% you do agree on politically leads to a bill that you can co-sponsor successfully. Five of the ten bills I passed last session, all of which were significant bills affecting all Marylanders, were bipartisan co-sponsored bills which may not have been possible had we not taken the time to get to know one another.

10. Respect the Institution and its history. Take in your surroundings and remember that many great men and woman preceded you in this place of honor. Those who came before you made decisions within those same marbled walls that changed the course of history. You now are a part of that history. Conduct yourself in such a way as to respect the institution.

Thoughts On My Last Day Of Twelve Years Of Public Service in The Maryland House of Delegates.

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This is my last day…my last day of 12 years serving the people of Maryland in the Maryland House of Delegates. I cannot begin to express how much being entrusted with such responsibility has meant to me. I leave knowing I gave 100% every single day for those 12 years. I enjoyed every minute of every day working to correct wrongs done to constituents and fighting to preserve their liberty and freedoms. It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to be so entrusted.

The public knew of my libertarian views and adherence to the Constitution as my guide in advocating for legislation and for public policy. While I had a reputation for “fiery rhetoric”, I directed my passionate defense of conservative positions at other elected officials and agency bureaucrats, never constituents. The public has only known me as a Marine first, who became a lawyer, and who then became a public servant.

What the public did not know was that I came from a background of substantial poverty, in a home with domestic violence. My mother, who was disabled, raised four children on her own, and eventually died of a heroin overdose. One of my worst fears was that these facts, my humble and troubled beginnings, would be used against me as a justification for rejection as a public servant because I did not fit the traditional mold. Quite the contrary, the citizens of the 36th District trusted me with a gift I cannot repay. Thank you so very much. I was able to successfully work across party lines to pass significant bipartisan legislation because my background included a variety of real life experiences similar to those I represented. I hope that sharing my background encourages others who have faced challenges to consider public service– there is simply no higher calling in my view.

With the help of excellent and dedicated staff, volunteers, friends and my family we were able to achieve many significant achievements, including but not limited to, elected school boards across the 36th District, a free standing emergency medical facility on Kent Island, Broadband Access on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, some of the strongest protections for children in the Country against sexual assault, the strongest 4th Amendment protections in the Country for the citizens of Maryland, decriminalization and legalization of medical marijuana, laws protecting Senior Citizens and handicapped children, laws which regulated abortion clinics (the same as any other freestanding emergency room), laws which reduced the infant mortality rate in Maryland by 23% in just three years and which prevented approximately 2000 abortions per year, eliminating the breed-specific Pit Bull discrimination laws, protecting consumers of mental health services from sexual assaults by therapist, stopping hundreds of bills in violation of the 2nd Amendment, passing bills strengthening the 2nd Amendment, passing the State’s first Correctional Officer’s Bill of Rights, and amending the State Constitution to allow an Appeal to the Court of Special Appeals from the poor man’s In Banc Appeal, Speaking at TEA Party events across the State, standing an all night vigil to protest the closing of the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center, holding community rallies to protest Bridge Tolls, and to protect Unicorn Lake, holding town hall meetings to teach the citizens how to challenge their property tax assessments, and …

However, what I will miss most are the cherished friendships I have made with so many good men and women who diligently work every day to make Maryland a better place to live, work and raise a family.

A sincere thank you to each and every single one of you, whether public official, member of the press, citizen, or advocate for a cause.

As my last day begins, I remember how my first day began, with my ten-year-old son asking me as I was packing to leave for three months in Annapolis, “but Daddy who will tuck me in at night?”. My son is now 22 and just graduated Magna Cum Laude from college and is heading for graduate school. His sister in her first year at her university is reveling in dance and doing equally as well.

I hope the accomplishments of the last 12 years have made all of our children’s lives a bit more enjoyable. That is what public service is about, making the lives of those you represent better.

Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to serve you. The phrase has become a cliché, but it has truly been an honor and privilege, which I will never forget nor ever regret a single moment along the way.

Emergency Regulation Proposes Giving Taxpayer Funded Wage Increase To Union Members.

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The Governor has reached an agreement with the daycare providers union to give Unionized day care providers two million dollars a year of tax payer money, as a wage increase.

A few years back when Governor O’Malley issued an executive order requiring all private day care operators who received “Purchase of Care” clients to join the Union. I sued and challenged this as an Unconstitutional use of executive power. I was successful in the trial courts below but the Appellate Court held the Governor could extend his reach of executive order to not only those work for the governor or deal directly with the Governor such as those parents who received the Purchase of Care Order from the Government, but also the day care provider whom the parent gave the purchase of care order to. I argued at that time such an extension of executive order power would eliminate the need for a legislature because the Governor could just extend his executive authority over the landlord who owns the property and the banker who eventually receives the order. While the courts decision was never reversed, there was an unintended consequence to the Purchase of Care program, in that, many private day care providers, who did not want to join the Union, simply stopped accepting the Purchase of Care Orders as payment. This left many poor children without any daycare to attend or looking for a new, non union daycare.

Now, it appears the Governor has decided, through the Department of Education, to offer the Unionized daycare providers a 2.5% pay increase at taxpayer’s expense. This is all being done under the guise of an Emergency Regulation which you can see in full below. If you are opposed to having your taxpayer dollars used to subsidize mandated unionization then please contact the Governor’s office, the Superintendent of Education and your local Delegates and Senator and tell them to oppose these proposed emergency regulations.

I have demanded a public hearing be held to discuss this plan because I don’t believe the public will agree with the plan to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize the Union workers.

I thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter and welcome your comments.

Regulation – Emergency Regulation

New Proposed “Emergency” Casino Regulations Strip Existing Protections Against Gambling Addictions.

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Maryland is on the verge of quietly and quickly rewriting the Casino regulations which will result in more devastation for families who have members prone to gambling addiction.

Proposed “Emergency Regulations” will allow Maryland Casino to give gambling addicts more access to more money in shorter amounts of time and will allow the Casinos to maintain their records for shorter periods of time. In addition the proposed “Emergency Regulations” will make it harder for the addicted gambler to self report and exclude herself from Maryland Casinos in the future.

Under the Ehrlich Administration, when the Maryland legislature was discussing putting Slot Machines in the race track locations (because there was State sanctioned gambling already going on there) it was the Progressive/Liberals who argued that further legalizing gambling in general and slots in particular would have a devastating effect on poor and minority populations. That money meant for families would be misdirected to the one armed bandits.

In order to protect Maryland children and their families from the unintended consequences of expanded legalized gambling the evil Republicans had to be stopped from passing any form of expanded gambling that included slot machines.

As soon as the Governor’s Office was occupied by a progressive, ultra liberal Democrat, then “Slot’s for Tots” was born. Democrat slots would save education by spending the money raised from the slots on K-12 education in Maryland. Setting aside the fact that not another additional dollar would ever go to education, since for every dollar into Education, from slots, another dollar was taken out of the education funding, slots was put on the ballot and sold to the people of Maryland on a few basic premises.

First the people were promised that the money raised by the State would be used to improve education in Maryland.
It never was used for that purpose.

Second the citizens of Maryland were promised that there would be certain protections put in place to attempt to curtail the ravages of gambling on the families of Marylanders who may have or develop gambling addictions.

The protections against easy access to lots of cash through cash machines on the gambling floor or by writing checks at the Casinos, are the protections now being proposed as being written out of the regulations.

The self help notification procedures are being severely curtailed making it harder for the gambling addict wishing to self exclude them self from being allowed to gamble.

While it may not be the intent of the new regulations, the result will be more gambling addicts losing more money and more people becoming addicted or indebted faster.

While normally, I have a concerns with government over regulating business activities, in this case we have a State sanctioned monopoly being set up with certain restrictions in place under that auspice of protecting the public from predatory practices. I see no reason that those protections should now all be lifted without some assurance that the fears that prompted these regulations in the first place are not still necessary to protect the public.

When the Casino legislation was being passed there was much hoopla over the supposed protections being put into the bill to help protect consumers from too easily over indulging in the State sanctioned gambling.

The State spending on gambling addiction has shown that it is not a priority, since the fund has been robbed of over a million one hundred thousand dollars since 2012.

Fiscal 2010 $0
Fiscal 2011 $ $523,995 (Problem Gambling Study)
Fiscal 2012 $100,000 (additional $950,000 transferred in BRFA to Educational Trust Fund)
Fiscal 2013 $2,531,454 (additional $209,000 transferred to the General Fund)
Fiscal 2014 working $2,826,250
Fiscal 2015 appropriation $4,146,225

I am looking into what the trends are currently with gambling addiction in Maryland and what these emergency regulations are going to mean in respect to those trends.

The proposed “emergency” regulations include but are not limited to C.O.M.A.R. Title 36, Subtitle 03, Chapter 10, Regulations 07 thru 49 and C.O.M.A.R. Title 36, Subtitle 03, Chapter 03, Regulation 07.

A few of the “emergency” changes being proposed consist of increasing the amount of money a gambler can obtain in one withdraw by an additional 300%, from $250 per withdraw to $1,000 per withdraw.

In addition, a gambler can take out 150% more money from the automated teller machines located on the gambling floor per gaming day than previously, moving from $1000 per day withdraw from teller machines located on the gambling floor to $2,500 per day. A subtle but not insignificant change is also in the language prohibiting the excessive amount allowed to be withdrawn. The new regulation seeks to change the prohibiting mandatory language of, “Shall be” to the more discretionary “is”. (COMAR 36.03.03.07)

In addition, under COMAR 36.03.10.20 the amount of a check that the gamblers can cash at the Casino also increase by 100% from $2,500 to $5,000, per gambling day.

Also being added to the regulations is a “this trip only” increase in credit limits. What all “this trip only” language means is unclear at this point. COMAR 36.03.10.24 (n)

One of the more interesting protections that was originally put into the Slots Casino Bill was that gamblers could voluntarily suspend their ability to gamble at Maryland Casinos by submitting a written notification to the Commission. One funny quirk, was that if that person later went in and gambled and was caught they forfeited their winnings to the Casino, but if that same person were caught but had been losing they did not get their losses back, they were also forfeited to the Casino. The House always wins.

Under the proposed “Emergency Regulations” the voluntary suspension letter would be sent to a specific Casino, instead of the Commission. So if a gambler wishes to exclude herself from every Casino they need to write to each one. Obviously this is more burdensome and will be much less effective in keeping those with gambling habits, who are actually trying to stop themselves from gambling, from being successful.

Clearly, the result of these “emergency” regulations is going to be more income for the Casinos and more excessive spending by the gamblers.

The result will be more gambling addicts, greater losses for individuals and Maryland families. The public policy behind these protections and limits was established after public hearings, debate and votes. It is dangerous and will result in unintended consequences to allow these changes.

One additional interesting proposed change is increasing the amount of cash jackpot the gambler can receive from $5,000 to $25,000. Lots of possible reasons for this and I would love to hear the explanation why this needs to be done as an emergency measure.

As a member of the Administrative, Executive, Legislative, Review (A.E.L.R.) Committee, I have requested hearings be held on these new proposed “Emergency Regulations”. I will keep you appraised of developments.

Please share this article with those who may deal with or have an interest in those addicted to or affected by gambling.

36.03.03.07 – Emergency

36.03.10.07 et al

Analysis – Combined

More on Christian School Diploma Discrimination by Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

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I am happy to report that I had several folks contact me as a result of the the article posted regarding the apparent recent discriminatory practices of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in not hiring those who graduate from Christian High Schools.

Having been an attorney for the FOP for several years and continuing to represent police officers from across the State I was happy to hear from at least one officer, a friend, who called to tell me that he had graduated from a Christian School and was hired by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, albeit in the 1990’s. So now I have confirmation that at least at one time the Harford County Sheriff’s Office was hiring graduates from Christian High Schools. This begs the question when did this policy stop and why?

I am sure that at some point the Sheriff will now show us a list of employees who graduated from Christian High Schools. What we will want to see is the list of recent hires who are graduates of Christian or parochial High Schools. What also we want to see is the list of all those who applied and were rejected because their school was not a public high school.

Since I was told by the executive director of the MPCTC that this policy is also being applied to Home Schooled students, how many of them have been hired or rejected.

While we know that Christian High School graduates were being hired over a decade ago, we don’t know when this new policy started.

Supporting the theory that the policy of rejecting Christian High School students is more recent, are the circumstances of another rejected Christian School graduate who applied for a job as a deputy with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and contacted my office yesterday.

This Harford County deputy candidate, “passed the written and physical test and moved onto background review.” This candidate graduated from Open Bible Christian Academy. He had also taken about 20 credit hours of courses at Harford Community College but was told since he graduated from Open Bible Christian Academy that his degree “didn’t count”.

This young man was told get a GED. He applied for his GED and received a letter back from the State of Maryland, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation informing the young man that he could not take a GED test because he already had a high school diploma.

He was then told he would need to contact the Maryland Board of Education to see if they would approve his curriculum. When he complied, he was told by the lady at the Board of Education, its not really their job to review the curriculum. At that point the young man explains, he gave up his dream to be a Sheriff’s deputy.

I checked with the Board of Education today, they confirmed that the Open Bible Christian Academy has its “certificate of approval”.

I called and spoke to the Headmaster at Open Bible Christian Academy and was given their State assigned number showing they have the “certificate of approval.”

So we now know that at least one Sheriff’s Department in the State is prohibiting at least one otherwise qualified graduate from a qualified Christian high school from being able to serve as deputy sheriff.

How many others are Sheriff departments or other police departments are implementing these discriminatory rules? How many other young men or women have been refused employment with a law enforcement agency, whether the Harford County Sheriff’s Office or some other agency?
When was this policy first implemented? Where does this interpretation come from?

The COMAR regulation 12.04.01.04, which applies to the education requirements does not seem to limit in any way the acceptance of Christian High School Diplomas.

….C. Education.
(1) An applicant for the position of police officer shall possess a:
(a) High school diploma issued by a high school or recognized by the State Board of Education; or
(b) General Education Development (GED) certificate or diploma:
(i) Issued by Maryland or another state, or
(ii) Recognized by the State Board of Education.
(2) The law enforcement agency may accept a college degree in place of the requirements under §C(1) of this regulation.
(3) In the absence of a copy of a diploma, an agency head may accept a certified transcript indicating that an applicant successfully completed the requirements for graduation from a high school or college.
(4) An agency head shall maintain a copy of the appropriate diploma or other acceptable documentation.
(5) If a GED test was taken outside Maryland or while in the military service, and no certificate or diploma has been issued by a state:
(a) An applicant shall submit a copy of the GED test scores to the agency head; and
(b) The test results may be accepted by the Commission if they are consistent with the requirements established by the State Board of Education.

Where does the refusal to accept the Open Bible Christian Academy diplomas come from? Hopefully, once we are able to ascertain that, we can eliminate this discriminatory practice.

Harford County Sheriff’s Office, “Christian School Graduates, Need Not Apply!”

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Unfortunately you don’t have to go all the way to Houston to find outrageous treatment of Christians by their Government, it is going on right here in Maryland at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

I received a call recently from a very well respected Pastor whose son had applied to be a Harford County Sheriff’s Deputy and passed all the physical and mental tests he was given. The final thing he was asked to do was supply his high school diploma. The Pastor’s son provided his Maryland high school diploma from a high school certified by the Maryland State Board of Education but was told the Harford County Sheriff’s Office does not accept the high school diplomas from Christian Schools!

I don’t understand how any government organization could possibly not understand that this violates the U.S. and State Constitutions. The First Amendment to the U.S Constitution reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The argument for separation of Church and State is a false one. No where in the founding documents, does this phrase appear. The only prohibition is on Government either promoting a specific religion by making a law respecting the establishment of religion or, what is ignored by the atheistic left, “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The idea of a separation between Church and State comes from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, Jan. 1, 1802. What those who twist what he says to meet their own atheistic agenda never tell you is that Jefferson was citing to the Government prohibitions which were established in the very first line of the very first Amendment to the bill of rights. (For those who wish to read the short letter I have attached it to the bottom of this article.)

Believing there had to be some mistake in what was happening in this instance I called the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to inquire about the policy. The Sheriff was not available to speak with me but I was able to speak with a knowledgeable staff member who confirmed for me that this was a policy of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office but she explained this was an interpretation of a regulation of the Maryland Police Correctional Training Commission, (MPCT). I asked if she knew who it was that was saying this and she gave me the name of the person. I started to explain that the Harford County Sheriff’s Department should know better than to follow some bureaucrat’s unconstitutional directives, but quickly decided this was above her pay grade and thanked her for her help and called the MPCT.

The person I was calling for was not in but I was able to reach the Executive Director, Mr. Charles Rupp. I incorrectly figured I would quickly get a flat out denial that any such unconstitutional activity such as precluding graduates from State certified christian high schools from being Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies was the policy of the State of Maryland Police Correctional Training Commission.

I was shocked to hear, that yes, that is the policy. I tried to explain how this was an unconstitutional policy and was told that the Executive Director had an Attorney General opinion supporting the position. I politely asked if I could have a copy of that opinion and was told that it was not in writing, it was an oral opinion. I explained that before calling I sought an Attorney General Opinion myself, and do have one, in writing, that supports my position that if the Christian School has a certificate of approval from the State Board of Education it is unconstitutional, and violates Section 20-606 of the State Government Article, for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to treat christian high school graduate applicant’s different based on their religious based education.

I was then told that all that was needed was to review the classes that were taken and see if they measure up to public schools classes. The only thing I could think of that might be different from a parochial school education and that of a public school is that the Christian school graduate may actually have had some education with respect to ethics and morals.

While I appreciate the willingness to re-review this one Christian school applicant’s transcripts, this in itself is discriminatory and should not be allowed. If a school were not accredited by the State, then the Harford County Sheriff’s Office would be free to determine if the education of the Christian applicant “otherwise meets reasonable, objective, and nondiscriminatory criteria recognized by the Sheriff’s Department for minimum educational achievement standards for its prospective employees.”

While I appreciate the offer to now review this one Christian’s application I believe the policy needs to be changed to comply with the Constitution and State law.

It is not an excuse for a Police Department to say, in effect, we are only following orders, when a clear Constitutional question is involved. We have seen in the past how this quickly deteriorates into totalitarianism use of our police forces for political purposes. It is important to point out any such violation of the Constitutional rights of the citizens whom police are supposed to protect. It is the job of the police to question unconstitutional orders or activities not to blindly follow them. The oath that each takes is to the Constitution not to any elected official or superior.

I am not only worried about whether this one Christian is being unconstitutionally denied his right to be employed as a Harford County Sheriff’s Deputy, I am concerned for all the Christians or anyone graduating from any parochial high school in Maryland who has been denied employment by a State Constitutional Officer, as is each Sheriff of each county. (Article IV, Section 44 of the Maryland Constitution)

As of today, I do not know how extensive this practice is among the various Sheriff’s offices. I don’t know how many years the Harford County Sheriff’s Office has been discriminating against Christian applicants.

I will be asking for a list of all those Christians who have been rejected. If there is a claim that they are not being rejected then I want the list of all those who have been hired and attended parochial schools.

If you or someone you know has applied for a job with the Harford County Sheriff’s Department, or any Sheriff’s Office or anywhere else in the State of Maryland please let me know.

Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you are religious or not, any unconstitutional behavior by our government needs to be pointed out and called out. We sit silently while over a million christians have been murdered by Islamic fundamentalists over the last decade. We watch the IRS attack our churches to silence them and we now see pastors having their sermons and conversations being subpoened by the mayor of Houston.

We all need to stand up for the Constitutional rights of all Americans whenever and wherever they are being violated.

Please share this article with everyone you know so I can find out just how extensive this discrimination against Christians has been and continues to be.

Yours in Public Service,

Delegate Mike Smigiel, Sr.

Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist’s

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

An open letter to the Maryland 2nd Amendment Community from Delegate Mike Smigiel

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Our friend the NRA, due to some internal policies which I don’t really understand or agree with, has, in my humble opinion, made a very grievous mistake in failing to give its endorsement to several people running for the Maryland State legislature. I will leave it to the NRA to review its own policies and hopefully correct them so candidates for office like the three I am endorsing below will no longer find themselves at odds with an organization that most of us belong to and respect.

Most who paid any attention to the 2013 legislative session know that I was very involved in fighting against the unconstitutional SB-281, which sought to prohibit law abiding citizens from the uninfringed exercise of their 2nd amendment rights.

What most may not know is that standing beside me, fighting for liberty on the floor, in committee, and in the town square was Delegate Mike McDermott.

Mike is a veteran, serving from 1980 to 1986 in the U.S Army. Delegate McDermott is a police officer with 33 years experience. He is an NRA certified instructor since 1983, serves as a Range Master for Worcester County since 1990, a Maryland Hunter Safety Instructor since 2001, and a Police Academy Instructor in the Use of Force/Deadly Force/Firearms since 1989.

No other legislator, did more than Delegate McDermott to help me fight against SB-281.

Mike served with me on the Judiciary Committee, he was assigned to the “Assault Weapons Task Force with me” and he was able to muscle his way into the backroom with me to fight against the efforts to strip law abiding citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights. Mike sponsored bills and amendments that were needed to protect our Liberties.
Delegate McDermott joined me in sharing our offices and staff with the NRA and all the pro 2nd Amendment groups for the whole legislative session.

In my opinion, Delegate Mike McDermott has earned my endorsement and that of every Second Amendment organization in the State and the nation.

Unfortunately, because of some antiquated policies, Delegate McDermott was not given the endorsement of the NRA in his race for Senate.

Also being, passed over by the NRA are two others whom I am compelled to endorse because of their unquestionable Patriotism and dedication to the principles of Liberty and the necessity of an uninfringed right to keep and bear arms.

Running for Senate in the 29th District is Steve Waugh. Steve served 20 years in the United States Marine Corps where he piloted Harrier Jump Jets.

Steve Waugh has already begun lining up co-sponsors to support his first bill which calls for the repeal of SB-281. I prefiled the same bill again this year and would be proud to have Steve cross file it in the Senate.

Steve has been involved with firearms his whole career and understands and supports our Constitutional right to keep and bear them. Steve put his life on the line every day for 20 years so we could enjoy the fruit and prosperity that come from freedom, Steve will not just vote right, he will do as I and Delegate McDermott have done, he will fight right.

I endorse Steve Waugh and ask you to please support this hero in his pursuit of the State Senate seat for District 29.

The last person who the NRA did not endorse but in my opinion has earned the endorsement is Bob Cassilly running for Senate in the 34th District in Harford County.

Bob Cassilly, is also a veteran, having served three tours in Iraq with the Defense and State Departments . Bob is an infantry officer and Airborne Ranger with the 101st.

Bob has been around firearms his whole life, as an attorney and Veteran Bob will be a tremendous asset to the 2nd Amendment community as a State Senator. I have no doubt that like Mike McDermott and Steve Waugh, Bob Cassilly will do more than just sit in his seat and vote correctly, he will battle to support the Second Amendment.

So in closing I ask that you share this with as many folks in the 2nd Amendment Community as you can and that you vote for one of these individuals if they are in your District and if they are not please donate to their campaigns. If you are not registered to vote but a 2nd amendment supporter, shame on you, you should donate both money and time to make up for the vote they are losing.

So when you see the orange cards come out remember there are three names that should be there which are not.

In District 38 on the lower shore, vote for Delegate Mike McDermott for Senator and do not vote for the NRA endorsed Senator Mathias.

In District 29, Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, vote for Steve Waugh, USMC ret., and not Roy Dyson.

In District 34 in Harford County, vote for Bob Cassilly, for State Senate and do not vote for Delegate Mary Delaney James.

I thank you in advance for your support of these fine candidates for State Senate whom I wholeheartedly endorse as those most likely to fight the hardest to support our Second Amendment rights.

Yours in Public Service,

Delegate Mike Smigiel, Sr

Republicans Are Surrendering State Wide Elected Offices To Dems Out of Fear and Failures of Leadership.

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Perhaps the most contested State Senate race this year is the one on the Eastern Shore pitting, who I believe to be, the most outspoken and effective Conservative Libertarian Republican, other than myself (no brag just fact), in the Maryland legislature against the only Democrat Senator on the Eastern Shore. Delegate Mike McDermott, R 38th District has shown he is very intelligent and a gifted orator who has the guts to stand up for what he believes and to fight for it in the very unfavorable environment of Annapolis, Maryland.

The sitting Senator is Sen. James Mathias. Senator Mathias has voted with the progressive majority numerous times and thus should be an easy target for defeat in the conservative 38th District.

With only a dozen Republican Senators in office currently, you would think that the Republican Party and the Republican Senators would be working overtime to help a true Republican leader like Delegate McDermott to defeat Senator Mathias. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Senate President, Senator Mike Miller, has made the re-election of Mathias a priority and thus will pour six figures into the race. Yet, the Republican Party has offered little to no help for Delegate McDermott in this important State Senate race.

The loss of Delegate McDermott is going to be devastating to the Maryland House of Delegates, the loss of McDermott to the Legislature without a full on fight would be inexcusable.

The Republican Party found it possible just two years ago to support three Republicans running for local county council seats to the tune of $40,000 in a Cecil County race! Now in a pivotal State Senate Race they can not offer the same support? Correct that, they can not offer any support? Even if the party claims financial inability, where are the dollars from Congressman Harris who two years ago gave $40,000 to the party to help those local candidates? Where is the help from the State Senators who have no challengers in their races but have tens of thousands of dollars in their war chests?

Republican State Senators have been told by the Democrat Senate President, “If you get in the McDermott v. Mathias race, you will be punished”. So Republican Senators with the ability and the desire to help are not helping because of a concern over their own political comfort. Shame on any Senator in a position to help who fails to help out of fear they may be punished by the Democrat Senate President.

I call it Political cowardice to kowtow to the Democrat leadership on the decision of whom the Republicans should support for election to State wide office.

The Party and individual members of the Senate need to stand up to Democrat leadership and show they will not be intimidated into allowing the Democrat leadership to keep the growth of the Republican party stifled. Rhetoric about freedom and liberty rings hollow when you fail to stand up to tyranny when confronted with it in government. Republican Senators need to stand up and be counted. If you have no opponent and have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank you need to donate to and assist in every way possible in elected fellow Republicans. If you are threatened with loss of your committee seat or any other punishment by the Senate President, then make it public and double your efforts on behalf of the Republican candidate.

The Republican Party also needs to double its efforts to help Delegate McDermott and other candidates for the State Legislature or Maryland will continue to be a one party State years to come.

Watch here, in the next few days, where I will cover a few of the close Delegate races where the Republican leadership are failing to help Republican candidates.

Sometimes You Need To Be Afraid Of What Is Not There, More Than What Is.

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Most of us old enough to remember back twenty or thirty years ago or are wise enough to study history so as to not repeat it, learned about the affect of international events on the price of oil and the stock market. If there was a mere threat of instability in the Middle East the price of oil, gold and silver shot up and the value of the stock market decreased.

In the past, the recent fighting between Palestine and Israel would itself be enough to trigger major economic repercussions in America. Now we see no affect whatsoever economically as the Middle East is in the biggest turmoil since World War II.

How is it possible that oil prices remain low as numerous Middle East countries are swallowed up by a Caliphate? How is it that Russian troops can invade a sovereign country and our Stock Market does not have any more reaction than a small blip on the market that is quickly corrected?

Under a Capitalist economic system, threats to the flow of oil and thus a danger to a steady means of production and instability in the trading markets would normally be reflected in major fluctuation to our economy. I am not seeing that happen.

Is the failure of our markets to react to these geopolitical events an indication that our economy is no longer tied to Capitalism? Have we gone so far down the Socialist road that the markets are unable to react as they should to such events?

It is naive to assume that the failure of our markets to react is a good thing.

Through quantitative easing we are creating almost a trillion dollars a year of devalued dollars to pay interest on our debt and to artificially prop up our economy. The markets have been falsely made to appear stronger than they actually are. This creates the near impossibility for the markets to now drop and correct themselves, at least until the whole economy fails.

Interest rates have to be kept unnaturally low because the national debt payments are already at half of the cost of our National Defense. If interest rates rise or the international community stops using the American Dollar as the primary currency, this bubble will burst and the effects on the American economy will be beyond anything we have ever seen before. Seventeen Trillion Dollars of Debt? Where will the money to pay this ever come from?

It is imperative we move backwards, away from Socialism and controlled markets and artificially protecting the stock market. A dozen or more smaller fluctuations in our economy are much easier to survive than will be the major collapse of the economic system that is looming under the current course we are proceeding under.

Why would the Obama administration and the federal reserve continue on a course of action that is going to create “the perfect storm” for an economic collapse of the American and subsequently the world economy?

Bill authorizing Maryland “Wellness Program” greatly exceeds authority in its implementation.

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The Bill which authorized the development of a Maryland “wellness program” never mentioned any penalties for failure to participate or to follow the suggestions of health care workers yet as seen in the program created and displayed below there is an extensive set of fines and penalties for failure to participate in the program. The Administration has created its own policy which should be the exclusive power of the legislature. Read the bill below and decide for your self if the proposed implementation posted on this site on September 3, does not vastly exceed the authority granted under Senate Bill 224 (2013).

Senate Bill 224 2013