Friday, October 2, 2009

Unenforceable Legislation

Maryland recently changed the law to ban the use of text messaging while driving an automobile. This law went into effect on October 1, 2009. Though that is not the entire story. The law only bans the sending of text messages. It does not prohibit the reading / review of incoming text messages. Also, the law does not prohibit the use of cell phones for normal calling use. The officer will have to witness a person typing a text message to another in order to actually enforce this law. This law is unenforceable.

What is to stop a person from claiming that they were merely making a phone call or reading a text message when the officer witnessed them looking at their phone? The officer can not prove whether or not the person is telling the truth and can not merely take a person's cell phone. Unless the person is driving recklessly while texting, which is a different fine altogether, there is no way this can be enforced.

As I have mentioned in the past, we can not begin to micromanage people's lives. You can't legislate intelligence. Drivers must learn how to deal with distractions, it's not something you can regulate. Texting while driving is a massive distraction and unsafe, but if a person drives recklessly then the crime is reckless driving. Enforce the law as written and, perhaps, increase penalties for those who drive recklessly while using their cell phone.

I for one hope that in the future our state legislature and our Governor review the laws they are voting upon. Try to determine the enforcability of such legislation. If the point was to make the roads safer with fewer people texting while driving - then they have failed. If instead this was an attempt to raise state revenue, then they also failed. Even if a person is fined for driving while texting, the defense is so simple and difficult to disprove that a person with a competent lawyer should be able to readily fight such a charge with ease.

Once again, this law is unenforceable and I hope our legislators learn from this mistake.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On Parental Consent

On this blog, I have not always ventured into the controversial. I feel that it is important, though, that certain issues be discussed. The topic of abortion is a touchy subject to most. It is a topic that divides the American public fairly evenly - with nearly as many in favor as against.

Maryland has very permissive abortion laws. In fact, our ranking by NARAL Pro-Choice America is higher than generally viewed as liberal areas such as New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. As one who's views on this issue tend to fall to the right, I can't help but wonder what that means.

As I began to delve deeper into this, I noticed one of the simplest and most clear cut in my mind aspect of abortion regulations: parental consent. Parental consent for abortion for minors is an unnecessarily controversial issue. If an abortion is to be viewed as those on the left would have us view it - abortion is merely a medical procedure. If that is the case, then abortions must be treated as any other medical procedure. In Maryland, a minor is unable to get a tattoo even with parental consent. Why then should a potentially invasive, damaging, and emotionally strenuous medical procedure be allowed to be performed on a minor without no notification of a parent if a physician feels that "...[t]he minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion." It may not be perfect, but parental notification and consent is the current standard for medical procedures. To feel we must treat one controversial procedure differently, which the many on the left want us to view clinically as a medical procedure, is inconsistent and illogical.

As such, I would propose the following to adjust Maryland law with regards to parental consent. I would propose to amend General- - Health Section 20-103 to read as follows -
(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a physician may not perform an abortion on an unmarried minor unless the physician has first gives consent from a parent or guardian of the minor.
(b) The physician may perform the abortion without consent of a parent or guardian if the minor does not live with a parent or guardian.
(c)
(1) The physician may perform the abortion, without consent of a parent or guardian of a minor if, in the professional judgment of the physician notice to the parent or guardian may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor.
(2) The physician is not liable for civil damages or subject to a criminal penalty for a decision under this subsection not to request consent.

(d) A signed statement granting consent for the procedure from the parent or guardian of the minor will be considered conclusive evidence of consent.
Please review my proposal and consider this option. It provides regulations requiring parental consent as required for all other medical procedures. It allows a physician who truly believes that the minor's life is in danger if consent is sought to perform the procedure without consent and protects those doctors under the law.

Those on the left will say that I have gone too far, those on the right will say that I have not gone far enough. Yet, I think this minor reform would be a positive step forward. As always, opinions are always welcome.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Suggestions for Budget Cuts

Governor Martin O'Malley is looking suggestions through the state website for budgetary cuts. You can provide your suggestions here. As our budget in the State of Maryland requires quite a bit of cutting - I have offered some suggestions to the Governor.
Dear Governor O'Malley,

I propose the following suggestions -
Cut State Legislator income by $5,000 per year
Cut your own income by $20,000 per year
Cut $70 million from the teacher's pension fund
Freeze "Assistance Payments" and "Home Energy Programs" to fiscal year 2009 levels (Cut approximately $100 million)

This is a start, but should not be the end of spending cuts. I suggest the State hires an independent auditor to review every single State department's budget line by line. Thank you and good luck.

Matthew Newman
I have a feeling that he won't listen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

On Conservatism

It is a sad state when we witness how the media peg those of us on the right. Conservatives are too often treated as unwavering supporters of the agenda of the Republican party; blind adherents to the ideology of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, never considering the consequences of these ideas. Yet this is not the case.

From differing conservative perspectives, a tapestry of ideas are bred. These conservatives range from the the libertarian leans of the Ron Paul revolutionaries to the neo-conservative thought of the ditto-heads. All claim the mantle of conservative and all of them are. Conservative means many different things to many different people within the movement, yet to the outside world it is embodied not in the idealistic vision of Adam Smith but in the leadership of former President Bush.

We as conservatives need to break the mold and coalesce around our commonalities to show a wanting world that we understand their troubles. We understand the turmoils of modern society and have answers that have succeeded in the past. Let us remind Americans of all stripes why they had allowed us to lead in the past - they agree with us.

A cult of personality has overtaken our nation and the facade is beginning to dwindle as a true call to arms against government intervention begins. The people of this great nation are realizing that individual freedoms and limited government are the answer and that waste and greed are more common among government than among the governed.

The people want less, not more from our government. They want a lean machine that is freed from politics as usual and meets its Constitutional functions. If we conservatives return as the purveyors of freedom, liberty, and limited governance then we can win elections and we will bring our nation back on the right course. If those who claim the mantle of conservative do not live up to these values, then we must find those who will.

Conservatism upholds traditional limitations of government and in so doing allows it to function properly. That is the ultimate goal of conservatives - a Constitutionally limited government serving the people and providing freedom and liberty to the greatest extent possible. That is how we must act and serve in office. If we do not, we will be cast aside remembered not as the defenders of freedom but as those who stood idly by as it crumbled.

I call upon the Republican Party to stand tall and proudly. Do not waver in your support of limited government and do not falter in your opposition to the waste they call a stimulus. Stand proudly against the growing tide of expanded government and as they hear your call, the American people will stand up with you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2010 Draft Suggestions

Over at my primary blog, I posted some suggestions of potential candidates in Maryland that I feel the State Republican Party should consider drafting for office. Feel free to comment at Old Line Elephant.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On Fair Taxation

If we are all to be taxed in order to pay for our government, then we must all be taxed fairly. I propose sweeping changes to our tax code in order to make it fair and equitable to all citizens of this great state. I propose a flat income tax.

Flat taxes are used currently in 7 states. Under a flat tax proposal, everyone pays the same rate. Our current tax brackets require everyone who makes up to $150,000 annually to pay 4.75% of their income. I say we keep it that way for everyone - at the top and at the bottom. Those who make less than $2,000 a year shall be exempt from paying income taxes.

The concept seems simple and that is why it works. With a flat income tax rate, everyone pays the same percentage of their income. The flat rate allows for equality while retaining the "progressive" concept of the income tax whereby those who can pay more, do. At 4.75% those who annual incomes are $10,000 or $100,000 will pay $475 or $4,750 respectively.

Incumbent 6th District Delegate John Olszewski wants to increase the income tax on a regular basis based on inflation. This would increase the income tax rate based on the CPI. I do not see the utility in modify the income tax rate based on inflation. If the worth of the dollar changes based on CPI then a percentage of that dollar will change in worth to the same degree. This feels like an attempt at generating revenue for the State more than an attempt to keep up with inflation. It is not a fair income tax system and I oppose it.

My proposal will keep the income tax rate the same for everyone. It is fair to all citizens, including those millionaires who we want to keep living here in Maryland. As always, opinions are welcome.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On Independence Day

Yesterday was Independence Day, a celebration of the freedoms of our great nation and the rich history of our republican democracy. Our nation was born alone in freedom. It provides greater opportunity for people than any other nation in the world.

These United States provide us with the independence to do for ourselves as we see fit. This God given freedom is not granted to all mankind out in the greater world. Cherish your freedoms and the blessings of this great nation. Remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

God bless these United States of America and God bless her people.