Posted by: Ann Corcoran | April 18, 2011

Maryland Reporter: More details on the tuition break for illegals referendum

The Maryland Reporter has some useful information about the upcoming petition drive to get a 2012 referendum on the in-state tuition for illegal aliens bill we first reported here.    Hat tip:  Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum (unrelated, but while you are there see video interview with Sheriff Chuck Jenkins).

From the Maryland Reporter:

Opponents of just passed legislation allowing illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition met on Saturday in Annapolis to organize a petition drive for the issue. But the elections board has yet to revise signature guidelines for the process or approve wording on the petition.

“The state board of elections is redoing the guidelines right now in anticipation of any other petitions that will be filed,” Maryland Assistant Attorney General Jeff Darsie said.

The bill to give discounted college tuition to illegal immigrants who graduated from high school in Maryland passed the General Assembly last Monday, and Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will sign it. Earlier stories reported on provisions in the bill.

Because of a September 2010 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling and its written opinion issued in March, standards verifying petition signatures for a ballot referendum must change. The new standards are expected to be significantly less stringent than the standards applied to a ballot referendum effort last year in Montgomery County over ambulance charges, when over 60% of some 33,700 petition forms were rejected due primarily to “illegible signatures.”

That generated a lawsuit leading to the decision by the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court.

Number of signatures needed and the time-frame:

Timing is crucial with ballot referendum initiatives. Petitioners only have about six weeks to collect one-third of the signatures required to meet their first benchmark by midnight May 31, 18,579 valid signatures. A total of 55,736 must be collected by June 30 – a number equal to 3% of those who voted for governor last year.

Delegate Neil Parrott has filed the paperwork:

Possibly first in line to use the new guidelines is Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican who filed ballot referendum paperwork on April 13. He will lead a group comprised of Republicans, some Democrats (he hopes) and other organizations opposed to the in-state tuition legislation.

“We filed the papers…I’m starting it. A chairman and treasurer of the organization are going to be raising money and organizing. It’s now or never for the petition drive,” Parrott said.

Parrott’s group held an organizational meeting Saturday morning in Annapolis, and another meeting is planned for later this week that will include Help Save Maryland and People for Change, Parrott said.

The state board of elections is currently reviewing bill summary language that will appear on the petition form.

Del. Parrott reported to the Hagerstown Tea Party on Friday evening that a website is being designed.  More news as soon as we get it!

By the way, if you didn’t see it earlier, I was shocked to learn that Gov. Mike Huckabee, a possible Presidential candidate in 2012 supports in-state tuition for illegal aliens, here.


  1. […] Update April 18th:  More details on the referendum initiative here. […]

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