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Death penalty referendum seems unlikely

Wednesday - 3/20/2013, 5:20pm  ET

Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Three controversial laws in 2012 prompted Maryland's first statewide ballot referendum in 20 years, allowing marriage equality, the Dream Act and congressional redistricting to be upheld by voters.

While a referendum for the newly passed death penalty repeal bill seems unlikely, lawmakers say a new bill that changes the state's referendum rules could create obstacles for citizens looking to petition state laws to ballot.

Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, has introduced a bill that would require the petition sponsor collecting signatures to form a ballot issue committee. Petition organizers would also face new signature page guidelines such as a requirement for circulators to initial each signature at the time of signing.

Opponents of the measure say that the proposed rules make an already stringent referendum process even more restrictive.

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