January, 2015 - Our America Initiative supports for Maryland's 2015 legislative session the "Criminal Justice" and "Good Government" proposals from the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Among those proposals is one to subject pre-sentencing asset forfeiture to stricter oversight, since too many innocent arrestees are losing property without due process. Our America Initiative also recommends to balance the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights with greater accountability when the police abuse civil rights. Further, Our America Initiative supports renewing and extending the expired requirement that police report every time they engage Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Fourth, while prisons need the power to isolate dangerous inmates, the abuse of this option for minor infractions shows the need to add restrictions on its use. Fifth, in addition to over-criminalization among enforcement officers, agencies in general are getting away with corruption, as exposed by myriad whistleblowers. We support therefore amending the Maryland Public Information Act to stop bureaucrats from refusing disclosure when asked to divulge the nature of expenditures and operations. Supporters of these good reforms should contact their state representative and senator and email this paragraph, being sure to post at Maryland's Our America Initiative Facebook page the results of your grassroots efforts. Maryland's ACLU has a good track record on civil liberties, having in last year's legislative session decriminalized marijuana, restored some privacy for our communications, and placed limits on incarceration of pregnant detainees. Over-criminalization and lack of transparency are problems in all the states, not just in Maryland. With your donation and input from our Advisory Councils on Over-Criminalization and Over-Regulation, we could expand law change advocacy through more of our fifty state affiliates.
As a state project, Our America Initiative Maryland has joined the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland.
The coalition is advocating for the passage of legislation in the next General Assembly session which would legalize, tax and regulate marjijuana for adult use in Maryland. This follows up on the successful efforts to pass a decriminalization bill in 2014.
The coalition is building support for such legislation now! Maryland residents can use the coalition's easy to use Contact Form, which will automatically send a message to your representatives (using a form or you can personalize it) to let them know of your support for this important legislation.
In addition, there are opportunities for volunteers to join Our America-Maryland in direct advocacy. To join us in those efforts, contact the Maryland Director, James Angeletti, and he will help you get involved.
The OUR America Initiative is a 501(c)(4) political advocacy committee and may receive unlimited donations from both individual and corporate donors. Contributions and gifts to Our America Initiative are not deductible for Federal income tax purposes . Our America Initiative has a no refunds policy.