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Session Laws, 1961 (Special Session), House and Senate Journals
Volume 648, Page 155   View pdf image (33K)
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What the Governor's proclamation amounts to is a declaration that the
thousands of people who signed the referendum petitions have acted un-
wisely, and it is suggested that we enact legislation that would circum-
vent their constitutional rights. This Jeffersonian concept of the ultimate
rights of the electorate is being thwarted in favor of the Hamiltonian
concept of government by the few.

The subject is discussed by our Court of Appeals in the case of
Board of Education of Frederick County vs. Mayor and Aldermen of
Frederick, 194 Md. 170, where it is said at page 176: "The Referendum
Article of the Constitution was submitted to the people of the state by
the Act of 1914, Chapter 673, and was ratified by the voters on November
2, 1915. In a case involving the provisions of this article, decided in 1917,
there is contained a discussion of its purposes. It was stated that, after
the Civil War, abuses began to creep into legislation, which were alleged
to have grown out of the control of the legislators by great corporations
and by political parties, by means of which it was felt that the govern-
ment was prostituted to corrupt and selfish purposes. Proposals were
made to abolish the principle of representation and to adopt the principle
of initiation of legislation by the people, and the principle of referring
legislation already adopted by the Legislature to the people. The last
of these proposals was adopted by this state in the Referendum Amend-
ment, and this Court said 'The referendum, broadly speaking, is the
reservation by the people of a state, or local subdivision thereof, of the
right to have submitted for their approval or rejection, under certain
prescribed conditions, any law or part of a law passed by the law-making
It was designed as a modification of, or as a supplement to the
principle of representation with which we had long been familiar, and it
was claimed for it that it would prevent the recurrence of many of the
abuses to which we have referred. Beal v. State, 131 Md. 669 at pages
678, 103A. 99, at page 102. "

Article XVI says there could be no referendum which will stay an
emergency law. The two Acts with which we are concerned were not
enacted as emergency laws and therefore the General Assembly indicated
clearly that no emergency existed. If the present session is called on the
basis of an alleged emergency, it can only be an attempt to destroy the
power of referendum reserved to the people of the State of Maryland. The
referendum is constitutional right, the purposes of which have been clear-
ly set forth in the above quotation of the Court of Appeals.

As to the Act providing for the Municipal Court, there is a further
objection that the emergency session is improper in that its manifest
purpose is to enact a so-called emergency bill in defiance of Article XVI,
Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, which provides "that no measure
creating or abolishing any office, or changing the salary, term of duty
of any officer, or granting any franchise or special privilege, or creating
any vested right or interest, shall be enacted as an emergency law".

In the leading case of Dorsey vs. Petrott, 178 Md. 230, 13 A. (2d)
630, the Court pointed out that the purpose of this quoted clause is to
obviate the public and private uncertainty, disorder and confusion which
would result from an emergency measure which might create or abolish
an office, or change the salary, term or duty of an officer, or grant a
franchise or special privilege, or create a vested right or interest, merely
from the time of its passage, since an emergency act is effective from
that date, until, by virtue of a referendum, it would "stand repealed


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Session Laws, 1961 (Special Session), House and Senate Journals
Volume 648, Page 155   View pdf image (33K)
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