Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B
Learn more at these websites:
On Wednesday of this week our state’s capital hosted three diverse groups:
Democratic U.S. Senators gathered in Annapolis for their regular winter meeting, and spent time with President Obama. Despite annoyance at the blocking off of many intersections for security reasons, Maryland’s capital buzzed with excitement about this gathering at such a pivotal time for public policy in our nation.
Opponents of gun control legislation filled the public areas around the Statehouse demonstrating against two gun control bills: Senate Bill 266, which establishes recordkeeping and reporting requirements for State-regulated firearm dealer licensees, and Senate Bill 281, which expands the regulation of firearms and ammunition in the State and makes significant changes to related mental health restrictions on the possession of firearms in the Senate Chambers. I am grateful to be able to report that, though feelings and opinions ran high, there was no violence.
Ten students from Howard Community College (HCC) visited my office to speak in support of full funding for that institution’s budget. They were joined by HCC’s President, Kate Hetherington, and some of her staff members. After a conversation lasting more than half an hour with these students, I felt so encouraged and eager to face my legislative responsibilities for the next eight weeks. These students demonstrated such a desire to learn, accompanied by a willingness to work diligently to contribute to a better world for all of us, that my own determination was strengthened.
Sadly, from home in Columbia we received news from Wilde Lake High of the sexual violation of a fourteen year old female student and subsequent criminal charges. I phoned Principal LeMon to offer him any assistance I could give the school during this difficult time. Not surprisingly, though deeply concerned, he remained calm and determined to address the primary goal of safety for the students and continue Wilde Lake’s legacy as a great high school in Maryland.
Lloyd and I watched the first half of the glorious Ravens game at Clyde’s last Sunday evening, the last day before that Columbia icon closes for renovations. We are so pleased and encouraged that the Teachers Building in which Clyde’s is located will be renovated rather than leveled, as had been shown in the plans resulting from the county’s charrette several years ago. This is a good decision on the part of the developer from both a planning and historical perspective.
The manager and developer have assured the community that they will re-open by Mother’s Day in May, the biggest day of the year for Clyde’s. This will enable my children to continue without a gap a more than 30 year streak of taking me to brunch on that day. When the weather permits, we all sit at an outdoor table overlooking beautiful Lake Kittamaqundi. What a joyful tradition.
On Thursday evening, the Howard County Delegation to Annapolis held its annual public hearing on statewide issues in the County George Howard Office Building in Ellicott City. Close to 200 individuals were present and many of them spoke. The topic addressed the most by far was that of strong opposition to the proposed gun control law. There were very few expressing the opposite position. Others spoke in favor of several bills: ending the death penalty, a ban or at least strong controls on fracking, and support for the anti human trafficking laws.
I spoke with some in attendance who expressed surprise at the strong turnout from the gun control opponents. Each year this meeting proves quite insightful, even though I may not always agree with those who come out to speak with us. I remind myself of how precious our democracy is, and how fragile.
The State of the Press
You have most likely heard me say that I don’t tend to make heroes of people – only a few. Bill Moyers, who constantly, courageously, and articulately warns us of the deep threat posed by the deterioration of the printed media, is one of them. Another is the incredibly ingenious creator of Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau. This use of cartoons in my e-newsletter is a first, and I believe that each of the two below speaks a thousand words. And, yes, I do love electronic modes of communication.
Cartoon by Mike Twohy from the January New Yorker:
Cartoon from Doonesbury, February 2, 2013
News articles related to major issues in this legislative session
As I wrote in a previous e-newsletter, I am a co-sponsor of the governor’s wind energy bill. I must say that this letter to the editor from Ajax Eastman, a long time avid effective environmental advocate in Annapolis, has me thinking.
Last week I wrote that I sponsored a bill to increase the minimum wage. On Sunday this editorial made a good case for the social and economic justice of this bill.
The legislature must find a way to end this abuse of renewable energy credits.
I believe it was during last year’s legislative session that I wrote of Burma’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s serving as an inspiration for me through her use of meditation to get her through times of imprisonment. This article tells of four other such courageous women. Let’s not take democracy for granted. Let’s join in this meditation.
To receive updates by email, Contact Liz.