Maryland "Dream Act" referendum opponents drop half of legal challenge, case continues

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December 9, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: The proposed Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum, also known as the "Dream Act" referendum, faces one less legal challenge.

Filed in August 2011 by Casa de Maryland the lawsuit originally challenged submitted petition signatures that were collected via mdpetitions.com and whether the state tuition law could be subject to referendum. On December 8 it was announced that the challenge against the petition signatures collected by MDPetitions.com was dropped. However, the challenge of whether the law was subject to veto referendum remains pending.[1]

Opponents of the referendum argue that the challenged state law cannot be subject to referendum because the Maryland Constitution prohibits referendums on laws that maintain or aid a public institution. Joseph Sandler, attorney working for Casa of Maryland, said, "This is exactly the kind of law that Maryland keeps off the ballot because it leads to disruption of Maryland programs, which is exactly what is happening here."[2]

In response to the continued challenge, Delegate Patrick McDonough, who helped lead the petition effort, said the act is not an appropriations bill because it does not set spending within the state budget. "We felt from the beginning that was their weakest argument. And it seems to me that it’s their last desperate position that they have," he said.[2]

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