Another citizen disrespected in Annapolis
As an involved citizen, I have attended and testified at Maryland House and Senate public hearings in Annapolis for almost 10 years. On Feb. 1, I drove in from Howard County to testify in favor of a bill submitted by Del. Tony O'Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby, HB 28 "Public Benefits Requirement of Proof of Lawful Presence" assigned to the Appropriations Committee.
It's an important piece of legislation that would deny most nonemergency, taxpayer-funded social services to those without lawful presence in our state. In a time of economic hardship for many citizens and massive budget deficits at the state and county levels, HB 28 holds the promise of eliminating waste, fraud and abuse from overburdened public benefit programs.
Upon my arrival in Annapolis, I signed in to speak in support of HB 28 (and HB 34) as is proper procedure, along with others, and sat down in the hearing room to wait for my name to be called. The hearing, chaired by Del. Norman Conway (D-Dist. 38B) of Salisbury, started off like any other.
Del. O'Donnell presented his bill to the committee, but instead of those in favor of HB 28 being called up first to testify, Del. Conway changed standard protocol and immediately called up those opposed. Clearly Del. Conway had a personnel agenda to fulfill by slighting Del. O'Donnell and those in the room supporting HB 28.
For the next hour-plus, I had to listen to the anti-citizen, pro-illegal alien nonsense espoused by groups such as Casa of Maryland, the ACLU and multiple Catholic and other ethnic/religious based groups as to why it was "our moral duty" to provide taxpayer-funded social services to illegal aliens, residents who clearly have no moral or legal right to be in Maryland.
When these groups where finished, Del. Conway abruptly ended the hearing and quickly disappeared into the back of the hearing room.
I rose and voiced my protest of this violation of my rights to testify at this public hearing but no one listened, including my own delegate, Guy Guzzone (D-Dist. 13) of Columbia, who told me it was a "mistake." I took time off from my struggling business to testify in favor of HB 28. I properly signed in, as did others, to support HB 28. Del. Conway, a disciple of Gov. O'Malley, obviously thinks that since the Democrats "won big" in the recent elections opposing views by citizens on issues are no longer needed.
Open debate on illegal immigration has been replaced by Gov. O'Malley's "New Americans" policy of allowing illegal aliens full and unrestrained access to all Maryland taxpayer-funded programs and services. Del. Conway's office is now issuing statements that no one signed up to speak in favor of HB 28; that was quickly modified that citizens signed up for the wrong bill. Tomorrow, I'm sure it will be a different story.
Again, this is not my first hearing. I know the drill, and I and others signed in to provide oral testimony against HB 28. The bottom line is that my right to address the government and to free speech was blatantly violated by Del. Conway and his Democratic committee cronies.
Tom Young, Howard County
The writer is a member of