Last month, Maryland passed legislation to improve the state’s due process protections against the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture. Now the Maryland State Senate is considering a new proposal to prohibit state law enforcement from Maryland State Senator Michael J. Hough (R).

Senator Hough presented S.B. 161 in the Judicial Proceedings committee on Thursday along with Sens. Jamie Raskin (D) and Bobby Zirkin (D). It would require criminal conviction and proof that the seized property was connected to the crime committed. The proposed reform also improves reporting standards of forfeited assets. 

Click here for the full endorsement, excerpt below:

“Dear Chairman Vallario,

State leaders from New Mexico, to Michigan, to North Carolina have been rolling back the confiscatory practice known as “civil asset forfeiture.” Now, Maryland is set to become a national standard in property rights protection. Americans for Tax Reform is proud to endorse SB 161—a bipartisan bill designed to ensure the protection of Fifth Amendment Rights for Marylanders…

“Civil asset forfeiture, like the overcriminalization of normal every-day activities and the use of excessive fines and fees casts a shadow of our nation’s police. The sad truth is that by leaving the door open to arbitrary abuse, the trust between communities and the men and women tasked to protect them is eroded. There is simply no justification for relying on men and women who have not been convicted of a crime to either fund the government or simply give up their property without proof of guilt…

“I encourage the both the committee and the legislature to support SB 161. Civil asset forfeiture was an old idea poorly implemented and damaging to both police departments and communities. With this legislation, Maryland can be considered a national leader in due process and civil rights. If you have any questions, please contact ATR’s criminal justice manager Jorge Marin at [email protected].”                                           

-Grover G. Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform