It has actually taken a couple weeks of decompression before I could muster the ability to talk about the dumpster fire that was the 2021 legislative session. Never in the history of the Maryland General Assembly has there been a more ultra-progressive, woke, leftist imprimatur placed on the lives and culture of Marylanders than what we just experienced in Annapolis.
I’m here to tell you, it was awful, plain and simple; and I had a front row seat to watch it unfold.
Every day (and I mean every day), race, racism, systemic racism, inequity, privilege and the like were woven into the discourse down there. It didn’t matter that we had a Black President for eight years. It didn’t matter that Maryland has had Black lieutenant governors continuously since 2003. It didn’t matter that Maryland has a Black female Speaker of the House of Delegates. Notwithstanding those truths, according to the woke-a-ristas in Annapolis, racism underlies anything and everything you can possibly fathom.
Sadly, no issue that we dealt with during the legislative session had more racial overtones than police reform (or more aptly, police deform). And, as I write about my thoughts on the subject, it is tragically coincidental that the news is reporting about the death of a Delmar, Maryland/Delaware police officer who died from injuries sustained responding to a domestic situation, leaving behind a wife and 12-year-old son. Reportedly, this officer, like the overwhelming majority of those who enter the field of law enforcement, just wanted to help people.
And the question that I have is how many folks in the future will want to go into a career as a police officer, risking their lives in the process, and subjecting themselves to being hamstrung or possibly jailed for doing their jobs under this new legislation? Here’s a few reasons why I say this.
The 2021 police deform legislation provides absolutely no incentive, and in fact constitutes a clear disincentive, for folks to either remain in law enforcement, or to start a career in that realm in the first place. By taking away personnel protections that have been afforded to police officers in Maryland since 1974 (known as the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights “LEOBR”), the police will have little protection at all. It’s never a good sign when Maryland is first, and it is the first state to repeal LEOBR.
Furthermore, the legislation subjects police officers to unreasonable public scrutiny by making virtually any complaints against them, even complaints found to be baseless, accessible to the greater public. Craziness!
Also, this misguided anti-police legislation requires police officers to engage in extraordinary mental gymnastics while making potentially life and death decisions in a split second regarding the appropriateness of the use of force, which most assuredly will cost officers their lives. And then there are the mind-blowing limitations handcuffing the police’s ability to execute warrants which will surely help criminals in Maryland to sleep more soundly.
And ultimately, it appears from a quick perusal of the headlines over the last several years that the actions of one particular police department have produced the overwhelming majority of the problems in our state. That being the undeniable truth, why couldn’t the legislation have been narrowly tailored to Baltimore city and it’s department, and leave the rest of us, where our policing does work, alone?
But, don’t worry folks. In between all of that tomfoolery, the legislature still had time to cancel the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland”. And the only taxes that were raided were the digital ad tax that will certainly be subject to a legal challenge, and once again shows that when Maryland is the first in the country to do something, it’s wrong.
So, as I seem to say every year when I come home, it could’ve been worse. But, it’s really hard to imagine how.
Haven Shoemaker is a Maryland delegate representing District 5. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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