“Really, don’t worry about the Red Flag law. The only way police are going to show up at your door to seize your guns is if someone reports you as being a danger.”
“What kind of danger?”
“Oh, I don’t know, a terrorist or something.”
* * *
Separately, Merriam-Webster defines dox as “to publicly identify or publish private information about (someone) especially as a form of punishment or revenge.” Even if calling adversaries terrorists has somehow been normalized, calling for them to be doxxed still hasn’t, right?
Attorneys general from 18 states, including Maryland’s Brian Frosh, have signed a letter arguing against a presumption of innocence for students accused under Title IX, saying it “improperly tilts the process” in favor of the accused. There’s a good argument that the feds should not be dictating colleges’ disciplinary standards at all, but that’s not what’s at issue here; the signers favor strong federal intervention, but on behalf of standards more favorable to accusers.
Conor Friedersdorf has more at The Atlantic.
The Maryland Senate has unanimously approved a new bill (“Grace’s Law 2.0”) expanding the state’s “cyberbullying” law. The bill would increase maximum penalties for violation to three years in prison while removing “requirements in current law that a harassing message must be sent directly to a victim and language that required a continuing course of conduct. The new law would allow prosecution for a single, significant act that has the effect of intimidating, tormenting or harassing a minor and which causes physical injury or serious emotional distress to a minor to be prosecuted if the actions were malicious and had the intended effect.”
In response to ongoing concern that the measure infringes the First Amendment, chief bill sponsor and Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) said, “… If we’ve overstepped our bounds in any part of this, then we’ll find out when the Court of Appeals says so.” Put differently, we’re passing a bill parts of which may be unconstitutional, but we’re going to leave that to the courts to spot and fix.
One problem with this “it’s not our department” view is that it’s not just the judges on the Court of Appeals who take an oath to support the Constitution, it’s also the members of the Maryland General Assembly (related, federal). I was critical of the original “Grace’s Law” at the time; see also here.
Now live: help fix Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District! This site (press release, guidelines) will let you propose and submit a map to Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency commission using the inline Maptitude software. Aside from enabling the construction of maps using census blocks and other units, the software will ensure that the map you submit complies with legal requirements for equal numbers of persons per district and contiguous territory.
The site also accepts maps via data files or hardcopy as well as public comments of all sorts to advise the commission in its work. Note that public comment and map submission is open for two weeks, until Feb. 27. If possible, try to submit earlier rather than later.
More: Diane Rey, Maryland Reporter in January, League of Women Voters of Maryland overview. And on a lighter note, from Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford on social media:
Gov. Hogan’s Emergency Commission on Sixth District Gerrymandering is holding its next public hearing in Rockville next week. Come share what you think a fair 6th district would look like! Details:
Thurs., Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
Montgomery College, Rockville Campus
Theatre Arts Arena
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Please share with others interested in free and fair elections and an end to gerrymandering in Maryland.
Last year following the Russian Facebook scandal the Maryland legislature passed a bill regulating newspapers (!) and other online ad platforms. Gov. Larry Hogan refused to sign it, citing First Amendment concerns. Now a federal court has agreed and blocked the law’s enforcement as an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of the press.
I write about the case at Cato. “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.” (reprinted from Overlawyered).
I joined host Jerry Rogers on WBAL to discuss Baltimore’s dreadful crime statistics, in particular the plunge in clearance of homicide cases discussed in this report (with more here).
For more on the grim report of rising crime on the Johns Hopkins campus, see the university’s eye-opening interim report, or this piece by William F. Zorzi for Maryland Matters.
Public health nannies, big alcohol lobbyists and intraparty rivals are all gunning for Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, so I figure he must be doing something right. Danielle Gaines reports.
To spell out what Franchot is doing right, he’s been pursuing a pro-consumer, pro-market, pro-competition agenda that would ease the way for craft beer and wine producers and other newcomers to offer buyers more choices at lower prices. Public health nannies like those at Hopkins’s Bloomberg Center don’t like that because they think drinks should be more expensive and harder to get, for your own good you understand. Big alcohol lobbyists don’t like it because their business model is premised on maintaining scarcer and more expensive choices with less competition. And intraparty rivals don’t like it because Franchot — though a Democrat of a rather liberal stripe — is happy to cooperate with Republicans like Gov. Larry Hogan to get things done.
Meanwhile, faced with intractable resistance among the majority legislative leadership in Annapolis to modernizing and easing craft beer regulations, Flying Dog Brewery has bailed out on its plans for a big expansion in east Frederick and put the land up for sale. Bad law has consequences.