Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B
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Hello Again from Annapolis to All of You Back Home
Spring is here in Annapolis and in Columbia, two beautiful towns. I look forward to planting some pansies during the brief time I will be home this weekend.
This week is known as “crossover week” here in the legislature. All House bills need to have passed out and into the Senate and vice versa by next Monday, March 25. We have had double sessions on the floor of the House a few days this week, and we will be in legislative session tomorrow, Saturday.
Last weekend I had the honor to introduce our Congressman, Elijah Cummings, when he spoke at the Earth Forum which has been sponsored several Sundays for the past three years by the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia. These forums organized by Nancy Fayer and given strong support by Pastor Dr. Sue Lowcock Harris have provided an invaluable service in informing interested people about current environmental issues, including how they can most effectively advocate either for or against them. This forum has proved quite valuable to me in my work as a member of the Environmental Matters Committee. As always, I found Elijah’s words and passion for his work so inspiring and motivating. He did not fail to inspire again on Sunday, with his willingness to blend a spiritual ingredient throughout his message about the sacred responsibility that each and every one of us has to protect our planet.
The two major issues that have brought forth the strongest feelings and emotions of the people of Maryland in this legislative session are the Repeal of the Death Penalty and Increased Gun Regulation. The repeal bill was passed at the end of last week and the gun regulation bill has yet to be voted on in the House.
I am blessed with good health, and it is a rare day when I don’t feel well and strong. Last Friday was an exception. I came to the floor of the House when debate began on the death penalty. The Speaker’s staff had told me that the vote count was very close. Even had that not been the case, it was personally very important to me to be present for that particular vote since I had been a sponsor of the bill to repeal the death penalty for 8 years and of other bills to restrict it for 6 years prior. As it turned out the count was not so close, and the bill received 82 favorable votes when only 71 were necessary for passage.
There are many arguments in favor and opposed to eliminating the death penalty. For me there is no need to go beyond my long held deep belief that government cannot successfully discourage a human being from killing another human being by taking a human life.
This article in today's Baltimore Sun describes the debate currently taking place in the Judiciary Committee of the House on the gun regulation bill. I agree with the delegate on the committee who says it is important for Maryland to lead on this issue, particularly since at the federal level we are witnessing faltering.
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