Right to petition is guaranteedBy Scott Strzelczyk | Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 1:00 amThe in-state tuition for illegal immigrants has poked the proverbial hornet's nest in Maryland.While there are supporters and detractors of this bill, one aspect I find particularly concerning is, how citizens view the rights of others.As a child I use to watch Saturday morning cartoons. One cartoon described how a bill becomes a law. A bill must pass both houses of Congress then the President must sign it into law.Maryland follows this process as well. However, there is one vital distinction. Laws, except for emergency laws, cannot take effect until June 1 of the year they are signed. This is because the people have the constitutional right to petition to referendum a law.Article XVI of the Maryland Constitution, called "The Referendum", states: "The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the state, to approve or reject at the polls, any act, or part of any act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor."Most laws can be petitioned to referendum by the citizens of Maryland. This is part of the process any bill may go through to become a law.Regardless of where you stand on the issue of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, or any other law that is passed in Maryland, we have the constitutionally protected right to collect signatures to petition a law to referendum.If you don't agree with a petition drive, simply do not sign the petition. Instead, we have citizens, town officials and business owners trying to violate the rights of others. In civil society it is of the utmost importance that each citizen recognizes and respects the rights of others.In the future, you may find yourself supporting an effort to petition a law to referendum, and I may find myself against that position. I may adamantly and vehemently oppose the effort, but that does not mean I can attempt to violate your right to attempt to collect petition signatures.I sincerely hope everyone recognizes the importance of these rights, and these rights transcend any particular issue. Otherwise, what's the point of having constitutionally protected rights when some citizens decide their position on an issue affords them any grounds to violate another citizen's rights?