Maryland roundup

  • Civil libertarians won victories last term in restraining open-ended use of police surveillance, search and seizure: access to emails and social media postings older than six months will now require warrant, as will location tracking; new restrictions also placed on use of automatic license plate reading system data [ACLU 2014 policy report]
  • Bill that would have banned weapons on private school grounds, whether or not the school itself had objection, failed to make it out of committee [SB 353, earlier here, here]
  • Judge overturns state union’s takeover of Wicomico County teacher’s association [Mike Antonucci, more]
  • Vague definitions of “trafficking” + asset forfeiture: what could go wrong with Del. Kathleen Dumais’s plan? [Reason, WYPR “Maryland Morning”, more (legislative agenda of “trafficking task force”)]
  • In his spare time, Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry Ronald DeJuliis apparently likes to engage in urban beautification of the sign removal variety [Baltimore Sun, Quinton Report, Daily Record (governor’s office considers criminal charges against appointee “personal” and relating to “after hours”)]
  • Behind the controversy over Rockville firearms dealer’s plan to offer “smart gun” [David Kopel]
  • Baltimore tightens curfew laws, ’cause criminalizing kids’ being outside is for their own good [Jesse Walker, followup]
  • In Montgomery County, police-union demands for “effects bargaining” were a bridge too far even for many deep-dyed liberals, but union hasn’t given up yet [Seventh State]


  • For those of us not from Maryland, what is “effects bargaining?”

  • Effects bargaining is a union contract regime under which a grievance can be filed over a new policy that changes employees’ working conditions — e.g., a newly introduced requirement that officers check their email at regular intervals. If a new policy is grievable, then its adoption is subject to delay and may be reversed by an arbitrator; in practice, the public employer may be well advised to offer unrelated concessions, financial or otherwise, to secure union consent.

    During the Montgomery County controversy, one group listed 15 policies whose finalization had been blocked by the Fraternal Order of Police. While a few of these were of a fairly conventional employer-employee nature, the peculiar evil of police effects bargaining is that it restrains democratically elected officials from adopting policies intended to curb such problems as excessive force, abuse of the civil liberties of the public, or falsification of incident reports. Among areas where the union had flexed its muscle: procedures on use of force, high-risk incidents, raids, search warrants, and video monitoring in police cars. Understandably, even very liberal elected officials came to recognize that the public was ill-served by a system that tied their hands in many of these areas.