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Liz Bobo
Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B

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Hello Again from Annapolis to All of You Back Home

February 22, 2013

This week we passed the halfway mark in the ninety day legislative session.  We have completed considerably less than half of the work before us.  Committee meetings are now continuing well into the evening hours.

Last evening I held my annual Legislative Update Meeting at Kahler Hall.  There were approximately 90 people in attendance.  Others reported this morning that they could not find parking.

I have loved these meetings over the past 18 years and look forward to the final one next year.  We discussed issues from storm water runoff to wind energy, from the minimum wage to corporate tax breaks, from the health of the Chesapeake Bay to health care reform, from the death penalty to gun regulation.  There were some present who expressed that they did not agree with my support for stronger gun regulation and increasing the minimum wage.  I am so grateful that they spoke up because we had a very respectful public conversation.  Isn’t that what we so direly need in our government?

News articles related to major issues in this legislative session

The Sun: Campaign finance loophole may be plugged; Reform advocates hopeful that legislation limiting LLC donations will pass

This article from the Sun reports on a bill which I have sponsored for fourteen years.  The bill passed out of the full House of Delegates in six consecutive years only to die in the Senate for lack of a vote.  The Ways and Means Committee of the House, which considers election and campaign finance law, then began holding the bill in committee in the hopes that the Senate would vote it out. Last year the legislature appointed a commission to study campaign finance law.  One of the major recommendations was to adopt the substance of this bill.  The public hearing was held in the Ways and Means Committee yesterday.

Hopefully this will be the year for this much needed public policy to become law in Maryland.  The current process
of placing limitations on contribution amounts on corporations and not on other forms of businesses like Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s) is a travesty.  Legislative Services informed the committee in the bill’s fiscal note
that there are currently more than 179,000 corporations in Maryland and more that 170,000 LLC’s.  Common Cause has reported that this loophole has allowed some business to give more than $100,000 in one four year
election cycle. The ultimate answer is public financing of campaigns, and this bill would provide a significant improvement toward clean elections until we build sufficient support.

February 14th

Death Penalty Repeal and Appropriation from Savings to Aid Survivors of Homicide Victims- HB 295/SB276 (JUD)-

This proposal would end the death penalty in Maryland, while preserving life without parole. The total cost to taxpayers of pursuing the death penalty is estimated to be three times as much as life without parole. The bill takes the savings from repeal and appropriates the monies to aid survivors of homicide victims.

Washington Post: “I believe, especially in tough times, if there is something that we are doing in our government that is expensive and does not work, then we should stop doing it,” Gov. O’Malley said. “The death penalty is expensive and it does not work and for that reason alone, I believe we should stop doing it.”

Gun issues

The Sun: Keeping guns out of the wrong hands/ Our view: Bipartisan bill on straw purchases is important but could be strengthened

The Sun: Something like a reasonable concession from the NRA? Gun-rights lobbyist seems open to O'Malley's proposed license requirement

The Sun: Guns and mental illness/Our view: O'Malley right to change restrictions on gun sales to mentally ill people

There is no issue in this legislative session that is getting more attention than gun regulation.  The debate is being fueled by the several lethal shootings near or on school grounds.  This week one more Senator committed to voting for the bill.  That has given a big booster to those of us who signed on as co-sponsors of the governor’s bill, particularly since the Senate is considered the more difficult chamber in which to garner sufficient votes for passage.

I find the most encouraging aspect of this debate is the growing acknowledgement that much better coordination between public policy related to mental health and that related to gun control is needed.

I very much want the governor’s gun bill to become law, and I also believe that we simply must cut back on the sheer number of guns throughout our country.

Capital News Service:  Universities Reassess Mental Health Services In Wake Of Maryland Shooting

The Daily Record: Brown testifies on health reform legislation

During the 2012 legislative session I said that I found our most positive impact to be in the area of health care public policy.  I say the same this year, and no one is doing more to promote it than Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. 

The Sun: Hospitals team to find beds for psychiatric patients; 'When you're in the psych ward, you're at ease' 

This is a fundamental and integral aspect of a good health care system.

Baltimore Business Journal:  Maryland combined reporting bill aims to ease small business taxes

This prohibits “combined reporting” whereby multi-state businesses are able to avoid paying taxes in Maryland on the profits they make in Maryland.  Small business owners have joined in with those of us promoting this legislation saying that it would eliminate an imbalance between them and big multi-state businesses.

Be well.

Liz

Delegate Liz Bobo
Elizabeth.Bobo@house.state.md.us
Annapolis Office  410-841-3205
District Office   410-997-2626

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