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Hereford Harbinger

The student news site of Hereford High School

Hereford Harbinger

The student news site of Hereford High School

Hereford Harbinger

Maryland Legislators act on controversal topics


Amanda Battle

Friday, March 15, 2013, the state of Maryland became the 18th state in the nation to repeal the death penalty. The bill had already passed in the Maryland State Senate prior to its passage in the House of Delegates, where the bill prevailed after the rejection of 20 amendments. The bill awaits Catholic Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature. He is expected to sign the bill and has portrayed a strong endorsement of the repeal of the death penalty.

The passage of the bill marks the end of 375 years of capital punishment. The death penalty was first used in Maryland back in colonial America; two men were hanged for piracy. The repeal was sanctioned by most Marylanders, who viewed the death penalty as immoral and against their predominantly religious views.

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“We are going in the right direction [by repealing the death penalty], but I think instead of sending them to prison to get fat off of cheeseburgers, we should be sending them to do manual labor and make some use out of them,” said Kyle Galla (9).

“I don’t believe in the death penalty because of the ‘eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind’ concept. Killing them is just having the government commit the same crime they did. We should have them work and do manual labor instead because taking lives does not solve anything,” said Lauren McKee (11), concurring with her classmate, Kyle.

But many Hereford students also condemn its repeal, believing strongly in the consequence capital punishment provides for criminals who commit heinous crimes.

Opposition to its repeal also comes from an economic stand point as well. Kingson Eze (10) said, “I think we should [not repeal the death penalty] because the average cost is $33,000 per person per year to keep one in prison. Our tax money should not be given to the people who kill tax payers.”

Hannah Fizer (12) said, “I think it’s ridiculous that we are repealing the death penalty. We should not pay taxes to house them in prison. Some criminals are committing heinous crimes and are fully content with living life in prison. They should not be getting what they want.”

The repeal of capital punishment is not only criticized for its predicted economic impact, but for the safety of the officers, in which many feel it abridges. “I think [the death penalty] saved security guards’ lives and prevented families from worrying about their loved ones who are security guards. [The Death penalty] killed the criminals before they could kill other people, rather than having them serve double life in prison,” said Nicole Serio (11).

The death penalty, the debate it sparks and the controversy it ignites, will be officially repealed in the state of Maryland after Governor O’Malley, who has promised to sign it into law, officially does so. Only time will tell its impact on crime rates and state expenditures.



Amanda Battle

Sweeping new marijuana legislation passed through the Maryland House of Delegates with a 108-28 tally on Monday, March 25, 2013. The bill now moves to the Maryland State Senate, where it could be passed into law.

Following the lead of 19 other states, the House passed a bill that will repeal specified criminal violations for the use, possession, and sale of marijuana; establish exemptions for specific people using, obtaining, purchasing, transporting, or possessing marijuana; provide exemptions for retailers in specified circumstances; establish a fine for civil violation.

The primary purpose of the new bill is to legalize the medicinal usage of marijuana. According to the Institute of Medicine, “scientific data indicate[s] the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.”

With research and statistics authenticating the claim for its legalization for medicinal usage, the House passed the bill that will create a commission that will choose research centers to administer marijuana to chronically ill patients. This commission will be named in honor of cancer patient Natalie M. LaPrade, a local who recently passed away.

School nurse Mrs. Amy Pearson said, “From a medical standpoint, medicinal marijuana would be a good thing for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Medicinal marijuana alleviates pain, and would be a better option

as compared to extreme pain killers. I do believe that it will be hard to dictate who will be using [medicinal marijuana] for the right purposes and who will be self-medicating, though.”

In the bill, specific requirements and protocol were established for selling and purchasing the marijuana. The sole purpose of the bill is medicinal, and its intentions are to further research and help chronically ill patients who may benefit from the usage of medicinal marijuana.

As it has traveled through the Maryland legislative system, the bill has faced controversy and debate. One amendment has triggered serious debate¬¬- a reduction of the current penalties for possession of marijuana. Last year, the current criminal law amended jail time for possession of less than 10 grams from one year in jail to only 90 days, along with a $500 fine. The new amendment seeks reduce the consequences to just a civilian citation of $100.

The O’Malley administration has expressed positive reviews of the bill amended bill passed by the House of Delegates. If successfully passed by the Senate, Maryland will become the 20th state to pass marijuana legalization legislation into law.

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Maryland Legislators act on controversal topics