Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B
Learn more at these websites:
Last week I wrote about how cold it had been down here in our state’s capital. You know what comes next...and now this week, although we did not experience the deluge that you did back home, we have had unseasonably warm weather. Watching the weather on TV with Lloyd last night we saw images of colliding cold and warm fronts that extended for thousands of miles, from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. Yet despite our increasingly unseasonable and irregular weather, we still have legislators who say global warming is a myth. I am progressing through Barbara Kingsolver’s magnificent novel, Flight Behavior. It will serve as a constant companion during the climate change discussion of this session.
Today we had our first bill come up for a final vote on the floor of the House. House Bill 89 allows a gas company to recover specified gas infrastructure replacement costs through a surcharge on customer bills. Some of you may recall that I was an outspoken opponent of the utility deregulation bill about ten years ago. I see the bill currently before us as another consumer unfriendly public policy, and for that reason I will vote against it.
Wednesday in Annapolis was an advocacy day against human trafficking. I am a co-sponsor of several bills on this most serious human rights issue. About 15 social activists from Howard County attended the press conference on these bills, some of them friends of Judy Colligan who recently died suddenly and about whom I wrote in a prior newsletter. I had the opportunity to speak of Judy’s dedication to the young female victims of trafficking and to call for a moment of silence in her honor.
This is an opportunity for you to voice your positions on major statewide bills such as Gun Control, Death Penalty, Campaign Finance Reform, Open Meetings, etc. Here is a link to the delegation website with PDFs: http://www.howardcountymd.gov/statedelegation.htm
Yesterday the Governor presented his State of the State address to both Houses of the legislature and numerous
other Maryland elected officials. For those of us who have long called for stronger gun control and a repeal of the death penalty, including Congressman Elijah Cummings who represents me and many of you in Congress, it was
a very encouraging speech. See attached photo.
Tuesday was Mental Health Day in Annapolis and representatives of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill from Howard County came to pay their annual visit to my office. Coincidentally, two mental health professionals also spent the day “shadowing” me. I am planning to co-sponsor a bill still being drafted, the Mental Health Safety Act of 2013, which will call for mental health services in every school, create housing opportunities for low-income residents with mental illnesses and address mental health needs of people in jail. Many members of the Maryland Mental Health Coalition, including some from Howard County whom I know, walked the halls of the legislative buildings lobbying for passage of this much needed bill.
Two bills have been introduced which will take a step in the direction of economic justice for low income and middle class Marylanders. One increases the minimum wage and the other expands the provision of paid sick leave. These bills, which I am co-sponsoring, are also pro-working families and pro- economic development and anti- poverty. Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the nation and it costs to live here.
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