Tag Archives: David Moon

Moon Country Club Bill Could Generate $10 Million for MoCo

By Adam Pagnucco.

A local bill introduced by Delegate David Moon (D-20) that would end property tax breaks for country clubs would eventually generate $10 million a year for Montgomery County Government according to General Assembly analysts.  That’s welcome news for the county, especially considering its current budgetary difficulties.

Under current state law, the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is allowed to strike agreements with country clubs having golf courses to cap the assessed value of their land.  To be eligible for such agreements, the clubs must have at least 100 members who pay dues averaging $50 or more annually for each member; restrict use of their facilities primarily to members, families, and guests; have at least 50 acres of land; and have a golf course with at least 9 holes and a clubhouse.  In practice, the agreements limit assessed land values to $1,000 an acre.  In return for the assessed rate, a club with an SDAT agreement must agree not to sell its land for subdivision and to not discriminate on race, color, creed, sex or national origin.  If a club with an agreement does sell its land for subdivision, it must pay back taxes equivalent to what it would have been paying without an agreement.

Not long ago, your author asked SDAT for all of its agreements with country clubs in Montgomery County.  SDAT sent us ten of them but we later learned that there are actually fifteen of them in the county.  One of them was signed in 1980 and three more were signed in 1981; all four of these are fifty year agreements.  Two more were transferred from prior owners.  One agreement, for the Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, was signed in 2017.  In tax year 2016, when the agreement was not effective, the club’s 175 acres had an assessed land value of $1.94 million.  Once the agreement takes effect, the club’s assessed land value will be $175,000 – a 91% reduction.

Moon’s local bill would abolish such agreements with country clubs in Montgomery County as of their expiration or June 30, 2029, whichever date is earlier.  Because Maryland’s state constitution requires uniform rules for the assessment of land, Moon’s bill takes the form of a constitutional amendment carving out MoCo country clubs and golf courses from that requirement.  The amendment would have to be approved by voters.  We understand that Moon may also introduce a statewide bill to deal with SDAT agreements everywhere.

The fiscal note on Moon’s bill indicates that MoCo country clubs with SDAT agreements have a combined 3,000 acres currently assessed at $3 million.  In the absence of the agreements, the fiscal note estimates that the club’s assessed land value would be $983.3 million.  So once the agreements are all gone by Fiscal Year 2030, the fiscal note estimates that the state would collect an additional $1 million a year in property taxes from the clubs and the county would get an additional $10 million annually.

That’s right, folks – if the country clubs simply pay property taxes at the same rate the rest of us do, the Montgomery County Government would get an extra $10 million a year.

Delegate Moon’s country club bill is the biggest no-brainer of all time.  There is no justification for the richest of the very rich to get a property tax break that no one else does.  And if they are required to pay the same as everybody else, the county government would get a nice revenue bump to help it deal with our significant and increasing needs.

We hope every single MoCo Senator and Delegate will join David Moon and support his bill.

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Mixing It Up in Kensington. All Quiet in Washington Grove.

Kensington

Three candidates are vying for the two Council seats up for election this year: Darin Bartram, Connor Crimmins, and Tom Rodriguez. (The Mayor and other two councilmembers are elected in even-numbered years.)

Bartram and Rodriguez are incumbents with Bartram seeking his third term and Rodriguez his second. Reports indicate that challenger Crimmins is running a strong campaign, complete with website. Crimmins is the Chief Operating Officer at Spider Stratagies, a technology an consulting company.

Like in most Maryland towns, elections in Kensington are nonpartisan. However, while Crimmins is an unaffiliated voter (UPDATE: Crimmins is a Democrat), Bartram and Rodriguez are Republicans who are active in national Republican politics through their jobs.

Bartram is a partner at Baker Hostetler who works in environmental and constitutional law. Specifically, he has provided counsel to a utility company that failed to comply with federal environmental regulations and also was part of the team that challenged unsuccessfully the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Rodriguez works as a communications advisor at Luntz Global, the firm run by Republican Pollster Frank Luntz. He has worked as a fundraiser for Republican Members of Congress and also served as a consultant on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Former long-time Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman, now a Democratic Candidate in Council District 1, has endorsed Bartram. Fosselman and Del. David Moon (D-20) jousted over Fosselman’s support for Bartram on Facebook:

Moon and Bartram had tangled on Facebook. Moon, a former campaign consultant, expressed his lack of surprise at Bartram’s criticism of General Assembly Democrats in light of Bartram’s past defense of Trump and Scalia’s critique of the Voting Right Act along with Bartram’s Facebook post proclaiming “I think Sarah Palin is awesome.” Drawing the County Council into the debate, Bartram accused Councilmember Hans Riemer of feeding Moon shots from Bartram’s Facebook page. (UPDATE: Riemer had not seen the page and literally had no idea what Bartram was talking about.)

Washington Grove

Washington Grove, an adorable small town with its own MARC stop, will hold elections on May 13th from 4 to 7pm. The Town elects its mayor annually and two of the six members of the Town Council every year. In contrast to Kensington, all is very quiet in Washington Grove this year. All of the positions are uncontested:

Mayor
Joli McCathran (incumbent)

Council
Audrey Maskery (incumbent)
John Compton

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SEIU Fuming Over Smith Appointment

A reliable source reports that SEIU is not happy that MCDCC voted to appoint Del. Will Smith over Del. David Moon to the District 20 Senate vacancy caused by Jamie Raskin’s resignation, in order to take up his seat in the U.S. House.

Several members of the Central Committee who voted for Smith plan to seek elected office in 2018, and SEIU is already making noises about wreaking its revenge at that time. Whether this is just talk in the heat of the moment or serious, only time will tell.

The outcome is interesting if only because the current MCDCC was packed with union supporters in the wake of union unhappiness with the Committee’s support for the all-Democratic Council’s position on police bargaining.

However, while SEIU, MCGEO (county employees), UNITE and Mid-Atlantic Laborers supported Moon, the FOP (police) and IAFF (firefighters) supported Smith. Perhaps the outcome only speaks to SEIU and MCGEO’s relative influence compared to FOP and IAFF.

In any case, the group of unions that supported Moon has promised to stick together during the 2018 elections. MCGEO’s efforts to throw its weight around in 2016 were notably ineffective. We’ll see if this new coalition has any more impact.

The bitterness coming from SEIU notably contrasts with the positive tone expressed by Del. Moon and his other supporters today. On his Facebook page, Moon very graciously wrote:

Congratulations to my new Senator and homie William Colonel Smith Jr! Though I campaigned vigorously to represent the activist wing of the party, I know he’ll do a fine job. As I told the Washington Post, this is a proud moment for Montgomery County.

It’s not always easy to write notes like these. However, it was not only the right but also politically smart approach.

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How MCDCC Members Voted on the D20 Senate Appointment

Here is how the members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee voted on the District 20 Senate vacancy:

Will Smith (19)
Darrell Anderson
Mumin Barre
Juan Cardenas
Arthur Edmunds
Natalia Farrar
Loretta Jean Garcia
Marjorie Goldman
Johntel Greene
Julian Haffner
Mimi Hassanein
Jennifer Hosey
Marlin Jenkins
Aaron Kaufman
Linda Mahoney
Jonathan Prutow
Venattia Vann
Tim Whitehouse
Jheanelle Wilkins
Brenda Wolff

David Moon (8)
Luisa María Arévalo
Alan Banov
Wendy Cohen
Harold Diamond
Michael Gruenberg
Dave Kunes
Emily Shetty
Erin Yeagley

Abstained (1)
Chris Bradbury

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Will Smith is the New D20 Senator

Congratulations to Will Smith on becoming the new senator from Distric 20,, after Jamie Raskin resigned in anticipation of taking his in the U.S. House of House of Representatives. Del. Smith is serving his first term in the House of Delegates, as is his major rival for the seat, Del. David Moon.

MCDCC’s choice of Del. Smith was expected at least by me, but Del. Moon put up a stronger fight than I anticipated. I look forward to seeing what soon-to-be Sen. Smith can do in the Maryland Senate and the continued service of Del. Moon, who has made an excellent start in that body.

Will Smith will be the first African-American Senator from Montgomery County–a welcome first in a county that is almost one-fifth African American. At the same time, he will bring talents to the Senate beyond racial symbolism.

Congratulations to Will Smith. Thanks also to David Moon, Darien Unger, Scott Brown, and Arthur Jackson, Jr. for throwing their hats into the ring. Now, on to filling the delegate vacancy.

 

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The Next Senator from District 20

The battle to replace Jamie Raskin in the State Senate is currently the object of much speculation but the logical and likely appointment by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) seems obvious: Del. Will Smith.

All three sitting Montgomery senators who gained that office via appointment were already delegates: Craig Zucker in District 14, Brian Feldman in District 15, Nancy King in District 39. Each had served at least one full term in the House before moving to the Senate.

Beyond experience, selection of a delegate also make sense because the exact same constituency has already elected them to the General Assembly. The three delegates are not just the most obvious but most democratic choices.

Among the three delegates, Del. Sheila Hixson could have it if she wanted it but doesn’t. That leaves Del. David Moon and Del. Will Smith. Both are former campaign managers for Sen. Jamie Raskin’s past campaigns and won election in 2014.

Prior to their election, highly diverse District 20 had an all white state legislative delegation. The election of Korean American Moon and African American Smith changed that. Beyond personal ties, Sen. Raskin and Del. Hixon’s desire to diversify the delegation no doubt played a role in their joint endorsements of Moon and Smith.

The Montgomery County Democratic Party remains interested in promoting greater racial diversity in the delegation. MCDCC will be under enormous pressure to take this into account during its deliberations.

This factor weighs heavily against David Moon. No African American has ever won election or appointment to the Senate from Montgomery County. According to the Census, African Americans now form roughly 19% of the County’s population.

In contrast, there is currently one Asian American Senator–District 16 Sen. Susan Lee. She forms one of eight, or 12.5%, of the Montgomery County Senate delegation–not far off the estimated 15% of the County’s population that is Asian American.

There are currently three African Americans (Dels. Al Carr, Pam Queen and Will Smith) and four Asian Americans (Dels. Kumar Barve, Aruna Miller and David Moon along with Sen. Susan Lee) in the entire Montgomery state legislative delegation, so African Americans have less overall representation in terms of absolute numbers and percentages.

David Moon has advocated for increased minority representation in the General Assembly. He has promoted minority candidates and helped to pass along his considerable campaign skills. Nonetheless, the logic of these very ideas will work against him in a jurisdiction and party attuned to racial balance, especially since District 20 has the highest share of African Americans in the County.

Other African Americans have thrown their hat into the ring, notably former County Councilmember Valerie Ervin and Will Jawando. Both are well qualified but have political strikes against them that mitigate against an appointment over Smith.

Ervin has touted that her appointment would be a double win, as her appointment would bring the share of women in the Senate delegation to parity. However, she abandoned her seat on the County Council before the end of her term to take up another job, which annoyed many activists.

Additionally, Ervin supported Edwards for Senate–not the popular position in Montgomery. While this is not nearly as problematic as her resignation, Ervin’s quotes in the media expressing ambivalence about endorsing Van Hollen in the immediate aftermath of the election are much more damaging.

Jawando faces an uphill climb for different reasons. Smith beat him for a delegate seat in 2014. Why should MCDCC second guess the choice of the voters? Second, after losing that race, he made a quixotic bid for the congressional seat against Raskin.

If Jawando had supported Raskin, he would have been very well positioned for the delegate seat. Opposing Raskin, who has long had very strong support among this same constituency, has made winning that seat far more difficult, especially since he received even fewer votes in his congressional bid than his delegate race.

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David Moon for Senate


By Adam Pagnucco. (Editor’s Note: As always, this post–and endorsement–reflects the views of the author. No broader support or opposition to David Moon is meant by this post or note.)

I still remember the day I first met one of the great masterminds of MoCo politics.

It was March 2008.  A group of us gathered at SEIU Local 500’s headquarters to discuss how to help Nancy Navarro win the upcoming Council District 4 special election.  The room was full of progressive activists, ace operatives and labor people, most of whom had lots to say.  Your author, not being shy, ranted and raved with the best of them.  Off at the end of the table sat a quiet, scrawny little guy who looked like he weighed about 80 pounds.  He stared into his computer and said almost nothing during the two hour meeting.  I elbowed the attendee next to me and asked, “Who’s that?”  “Oh, that’s David Moon.”

Moon was already a household name among MoCo activists at that point, having been the campaign manager behind Jamie Raskin’s 33-point State Senate victory two years before.  But he was just getting started.  Moon’s skills were put to the test during the two special elections that followed as he endured a close loss by Navarro the first time, followed by an even closer win the next year.  I had been involved with union organizing and political campaigns during my time in the labor movement, but I had not met many campaigners of his caliber before.  Moon was simultaneously creative and disciplined – a rare combination for anyone.  He would do the tedious, mind-numbing work of producing the walk sheets and handling the follow-up data entry, and then turn around and come up with something new on the fly.  He could think big picture and then slap Apple Ballot stickers on lit all night.  He seemed to live on Diet Coke and junk food.  If you wanted to find him, the best way was to locate the largest pile of empty cans and wrappers and see who was sitting in the middle of it.  Most remarkable of all, Moon was almost without pretense.  All campaign managers have egos and some are unbearable.  But Moon would meet any suggestion, whether brilliant or stupid, with a shrug and grab the good ones while quietly disposing of the clunkers.

The David Moon of today was still evolving in the 2008-2010 period, but even then you could see where he was headed.  Most operatives are motivated by some combination of the thrill of winning, wanting a job with the victorious candidate, wanting to run for office themselves or just the fun of the game.  None of that was enough for Moon.  He had a Plan, and it was wildly ambitious.  He wanted to build a base for true progressivism in Montgomery County.  And by that I don’t mean just electing people who toss goodies to liberal interest groups while trying to move up the ladder.  Moon’s vision was to combine the political and economic forces of new residents, economic development, labor rights, people of color, environmentalism, smart growth and political reform into a movement for real change.  For a while, he did that through running other candidates’ campaigns and working with organizations like Action Committee for Transit, Communities for Transit, Casa de Maryland and FairVote.  But like most good quarterbacks, he eventually called his own number and ran for office himself.  He outwitted, outlasted and outplayed a number of capable opponents on his way to Annapolis.

As a Delegate, Moon has not backed away from any of the causes he supported early in his career, but he picked a focus: social justice.  Most freshman Delegates regard the House Judiciary Committee as a backwater.  They have to deal with the dominance of crusty old committee chair Joe Vallario and they can’t get the fundraising connections that members of other committees can (especially Economic Matters).  But Moon wanted to be on Judiciary; in fact, he actively lobbied for it because it is the place where criminal justice issues are decided.  And that’s where Moon has planted his flag.

Moon has been nothing less than a prophet on unfairness in the criminal justice system.  When he was running for Delegate, he wrote:

It’s time for a grown-up conversation about our criminal justice system. Maryland leads the nation in marijuana arrests, and black residents of Montgomery County are over 3 times more likely to be arrested for possession than white residents. This costs us between $100-$200 million a year and ruins the lives of young people by barring them from employment, student loan eligibility and more. Let’s look at the evidence and start rolling back the failed “War on Drugs” in Maryland.

Months later, the Baltimore riots erupted partly as a result of these issues.  Moon has been advocating on them ever since.  He has introduced numerous bills to rein in justice system excesses.  In 2015, he passed a bill through the House that would have excluded possession of a small amount of pot as a reason for parole violation.  (It died in the Senate.)  He has proposed letting voters decide whether to legalize marijuana and fought against efforts to recriminalize it.  Slowly but surely he is helping criminal justice reform advance, and in the years to come, the work of Moon and his allies will pay off.

Moon also returned to his political reform roots by teaming up with Republican Delegate Kathy Szeliga on a bill that would stream live video of General Assembly sessions, something that the Montgomery County Council has been doing for years.  He opposed tens of millions of dollars of corporate welfare given to Northrop Grumman even while many Democrats (including some from Montgomery County) supported it.  His greatest triumph was passing a constitutional amendment that would allow special elections for U.S. Senate, Comptroller and Attorney General vacancies.  (This is subject to approval by voters.)

Moon’s work on criminal justice has produced something that’s uncommon for MoCo legislators: growing collaboration on a key priority with lawmakers from the City of Baltimore and Prince George’s County, who often co-sponsor his bills.  Moon has also helped create an informal group of cooperating progressives who resist reactionary bills no matter their source – even including the Democratic leadership.  A progressive caucus is a long-time dream of the left, but Annapolis leaders have always prevented it through a combination of pressure and cooptation.  Such tactics do not work on the indefatigable Moon.  He will not and cannot be deterred.

David Moon is an unusual elected official.  His experience as one of MoCo’s top campaigners has given him the ability to pursue big picture goals through patience, methodical assemblage of leverage and the implementation of tactics designed to build momentum.  He has demonstrated that capacity throughout his entire career, both in office and out.  He has worked on nearly the entire spectrum of progressive issues.  His priorities are perfectly in line with District 20 Democrats, who are probably the most progressive constituency in the entire state.  He is the natural heir to Jamie Raskin.  While I can appreciate the perspective of those who would like to appoint a caretaker to serve out the rest of Senator Raskin’s term and there are other good people available, the prospect of sending Moon to the upper chamber has too much upside to resist.

David Moon for Senate.

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Updated Letter Against Confederate Flag License Plates

June 25, 2015

Secretary Pete Rahn
Maryland Department of Transportation
Office of the Secretary
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
Hanover, MD. 21076

Milton Chaffee
Motor Vehicle Administrator
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

Dear Secretary Rahn and Administrator Chaffee:

As you know, the Supreme Court held last week in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that states can exclude the Confederate flag from government specialty license plate programs. Consequently, we request that you use your authority to reinstate Maryland’s previous policy of not including the Confederate battle flag in specialty license plate designs.

The Supreme Court determined that these programs reflect expressions of government speech and therefore do not constitute an open forum for private speech within the meaning of the First Amendment. Our high court has thus transformed the meaning of messages contained in our specialty license plates into Maryland government speech, and these plates now inevitably carry the imprimatur and symbolic prestige of our state government and our people.

Given this understanding, we should not include the Confederate battle flag—the nation’s leading symbol of secession, armed rebellion against the U.S. government, slavery and racism–in our specialty license plate program. To be sure, every symbol has multiple connotations, and not everyone who displays the flag means the same thing by it. But there is no doubt that for millions of Marylanders, the Confederate battle flag’s meaning is reasonably and uniquely identified with the history of slavery, white supremacy, and racial violence. In the 20th century, after Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the flag was resurrected as a symbol of Jim Crow segregation and violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

The policy question of whether to issue Confederate flag plates arose in Maryland in 1996. Back then the Motor Vehicles Administration decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them. This action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on free speech grounds in a decision now effectively overruled by the Supreme Court. We therefore urge you to work with the MVA to reinstate its former policy on this issue and exclude the use of the Confederate insignia on state license plates.

We hope that you will undertake a prompt review of the situation and conclude that the state of Maryland has both the legal authority and a clear reason to disassociate ourselves from a symbol that may reasonably be regarded as a “badge and incident” of slavery within the meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Sincerely,

Senator Jamie Raskin
Senator Catherine Pugh
Senator James “Ed” DeGrange
Senator Brian Feldman
Senator Bill Ferguson
Senator Lisa Gladden
Senator Guy Guzzone
Senator Susan Lee
Senator Cheryl Kagan
Senator Nancy King
Senator Jim Mathias
Senator Nathaniel McFadden
Senator Rich Madaleno
Senator Roger Manno
Senator Karen Montgomery
Senator Anthony Muse
Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
Senator Paul Pinsky
Senator Victor Ramirez
Senator Jim Rosapepe
Senator Bobby Zirkin

Delegate Barbara Robinson
Delegate David Moon
Delegate Angela Angel
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary
Delegate Ben Barnes
Delegate Erek Barron
Delegate Pam Beidle
Delegate Al Carr
Delegate Jill Carter
Delegate Mark Chang
Delegate Luke Clippinger
Delegate Bonnie Cullison
Delegate Kathleen Dumais
Delegate Eric Ebersole
Delegate Diana Fennell
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Delegate Bill Frick
Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez
Delegate Anne Healey
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
Delegate Sheila Hixson
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Ariana Kelley
Delegate Tony Knotts
Delegate Marc Korman
Delegate Ben Kramer
Delegate Clarence Lam
Delegate Karen Lewis Young
Delegate Brooke Lierman
Delegate Eric Luedtke
Delegate Aruna Miller
Delegate Marice Morales
Delegate Dan Morhaim
Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk
Delegate Shane Pendergrass
Delegate Andrew Platt
Delegate Kirill Reznik
Delegate Shane Robinson
Delegate Sandy Rosenberg
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
Delegate Will Smith
Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Charles Sydnor III
Delegate Jimmy Tarlau
Delegate Frank Turner
Delegate Kris Valderamma
Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher
Delegate Alonzo Washington
Delegate Mary Washington
Delegate Pat Young
Delegate Craig Zucker

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Bipartisan Support for Confederate Flag Removal in Maryland

CFHogan

Letter from Forty-Two State Legislators

June 23, 2015
Secretary Pete Rahn
Maryland Department of Transportation
Office of the Secretary
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
Hanover, MD. 21076

Milton Chaffee
Motor Vehicle Administrator
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

Dear Secretary Rahn and Administrator Chaffee:

As you know, the Supreme Court held last week in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that states can exclude the Confederate flag from government specialty license plate programs.  Consequently, we request that you use your authority to reinstate Maryland’s previous policy of not including the Confederate battle flag in specialty license plate designs.

The Supreme Court determined that these programs reflect expressions of government speech and therefore do not constitute an open forum for private speech within the meaning of the First Amendment. Our high court has thus transformed the meaning of messages contained in our specialty license plates into Maryland government speech, and these plates now inevitably carry the imprimatur and symbolic prestige of our state government and our people.

Given this understanding, we should not include the Confederate battle flag—the nation’s leading symbol of secession, armed rebellion against the U.S. government, slavery and racism–in our specialty license plate program.  To be sure, every symbol has multiple connotations, and not everyone who displays the flag means the same thing by it.  But there is no doubt that for millions of Marylanders, the Confederate battle flag’s meaning is reasonably and uniquely identified with the history of slavery, white supremacy, and racial violence. In the 20th century, after Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the flag was resurrected as a symbol of Jim Crow segregation and violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

The policy question of whether to issue Confederate flag plates arose in Maryland in 1996.  Back then the Motor Vehicles Administration decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them. This action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on free speech grounds in a decision now effectively overruled by the Supreme Court. We therefore urge you to work with the MVA to reinstate its former policy on this issue and exclude the use of the Confederate insignia on state license plates.

We hope that you will undertake a prompt review of the situation and conclude that the state of Maryland has both the legal authority and a clear reason to disassociate ourselves from a symbol that may reasonably be regarded as a “badge and incident” of slavery within the meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Sincerely,

Senator Jamie Raskin
Senator Catherine Pugh
Senator Susan Lee
Senator Cheryl Kagan
Senator Nathaniel McFadden
Senator Rich Madaleno
Senator Karen Montgomery
Senator Paul Pinsky
Senator Victor Ramirez

Delegate Barbara Robinson
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary
Delegate Erek Barron
Delegate Pam Beidle
Delegate Al Carr
Delegate Luke Clippinger
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Delegate Bill Frick
Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
Delegate Sheila Hixson
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Tony Knotts
Delegate Marc Korman
Delegate Ben Kramer
Delegate Karen Lewis Young
Delegate Brooke Lierman
Delegate Eric Luedtke
Delegate David Moon
Delegate Shane Pendergrass
Delegate Andrew Platt
Delegate Kirill Reznik
Delegate Sandy Rosenberg
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
Delegate Will Smith
Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Charles Sydnor III
Delegate Jimmy Tarlau
Delegate Kris Valderamma
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher
Delegate Alonzo Washington
Delegate Mary Washington
Delegate Craig Zucker

Letter from Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. David Moon

June 22, 2015

Brian Frosh, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Attorney General Frosh:

We hereby request an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on whether the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) can, without legislation, exclude the Confederate flag from specialty license plate designs.

This week the United States Supreme Court held in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that Texas can exclude the Confederate flag from its government license plate programs. In 1996, the Maryland MVA similarly decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them, but this action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This decision has now been effectively overruled by the Supreme Court.

We therefore seek your confirmation that the MVA may now take steps to recall previously issued license plates with the Confederate flag and may exclude the Confederate flag from future specialty license plate designs.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Raskin
Senator, District 20

David Moon
Delegate, District 20

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