- House Bill 949: Tuesday February 28th 1pm or later. (Room 241, Taylor House Office Building, 6 Bladen St, Annapolis, MD 21401)
- Senate Bill 739: Wednesday March 1st 2:30 pm or later. (Room 3 West, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St, Annapolis, MD 21401)
- You should arrive in Annapolis at least 30 minutes before the hearing.
- You must bring your drivers' license with you to pass through the security checkpoint. Without your driver's license you won't be allowed to enter the building.
- The hearings start at 1pm and often stretch for hours. They are unbounded. They frequently go till 6pm. We don't know when our bills will be called. So you will probably have to wait a very LONG time. Be prepared for that. Bring a book or a tablet/laptop. They have free, public Wi-Fi.
- After all that waiting, you will be given only 2 minutes to testify. Make it worth it. :) It's best to have some prepared bullet points to guide your testimony. We should coordinate with each other so that we get all our points across.
- Park your car at this nearby hourly parking garage: 25 Northwest St, Annapolis, MD 21401
As the Maryland General Assembly debates the Zirkin/Kramer Anti-Boycott Bill (SB739/HB949), I wanted to provide you legal analysis of the constitutionality of these bills.
In the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Jewish Council's Howard Libit and the Jewish Community Relations Center of Greater Washington's Ron Halber assert that: “government determines how taxpayer dollars are spent, and BDS supporters are free to engage in any personal actions they wish.” But is this really true? Does the government have the right to spend our tax dollars as it sees fit even if it infringes the rights of ordinary citizens like us? Of course it does not.
Here is why:
The Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to discriminate against political dissenters in the disbursement of public benefits and in contracts.
This morning on the Marc Steiner Radio Show, two Maryland State Delegates, Ben Kramer (D-Silver Spring) and Jimmy Tarlau (D-Mount Ranier) faced off against each other about the Anti-BDS bill. Ben Kramer is a sponsor of the bill. Jimmy Tarlau is an opponent of the bill.
You can listen to 22-minute-long debate here.
Delegate Tarlau did a fabulous job pointing out all the flaws in the bill -- most importantly that it is an assault on free speech.
Below you can read the entire transcript of the debate.Read more
The Baltimore Sun has written a great article explaining the contours of debate around the anti-Boycott Bill. Unfortunately for the bill supporters, it exposes the main problem with the bill. It's blatantly unconstitutional:
[Delegate Benjamin] Kramer denies the legislation would infringe on the rights of boycotters. He pointed to the strong economic relationship forged through Maryland's Declaration of Cooperation with Israel.
"There is nothing unconstitutional about saying we do not want to use taxpayer funds that would undermine state policy," he said.
[Donald F. Norris, director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County] questioned whether that logic will hold up in court.
"Now that the Supreme Court has told us money is speech, it will have First Amendment implications, which would make it unconstitutional," he said.
There is no way to square this circle. SB739/HB949 is fatally flawed. It cannot be fixed. It must be defeated. If you want to help defeat the bill, send a message to your legislator opposing it.
Help us stop the Anti-BDS legislation being introduced in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly. Come join us for “F2B Lobby Night” in Annapolis on Monday February 6th as we urge our Maryland State legislators not to pass any anti-BDS legislation.
- When: 4 - 9 pm on Monday February 6, 2017
- Where: Lowe House Office Building. 6 Bladen St Annapolis, MD 21401, Room #150
- What do I need to bring? Just bring yourself. We will provide all the instructions, materials, refreshments, etc!
To RSVP: Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address (to find your district) and what your availability is.
Remember, our Lobby Night is 4 - 9pm. But if you can only come for part of that time, you are still welcome!