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February 3, 2012
This has been a very interesting week carrying out my responsibilities in Maryland’s capital with a constant and acute awareness of Zach and his family back in Ellicott City (see NewsofZach). It has been a revelation to observe myself setting priorities and making decisions. My awareness of Zach has actually helped me think about the many crucial public policy choices more clearly and sharply. Because of Zach's hospitalization, there was no legislative update for the week of January 27.
Major Statewide Issues for this Legislative Session
On Wednesday, the Governor gave his State of the State address. Although I don’t agree with all that the Governor has proposed in his budget, I told him that I appreciate and admire his courage in making tough proposals. We have ten weeks of hard work ahead of us in Annapolis in determining the budget. May we have courage, wisdom, and compassion in making our decisions.
News Articles Relating to Major Budgetary Issues
The dangerous fiscal path. (Even though this editorial pertains to the federal budget, it also reflects on Maryland’s budget. We must learn from the past and avoid putting our children and grandchildren even deeper in the position of having to bail out the economy in the future.)
The cost of transportation. (It is simply not sustainable to rely on more and more paved highways. Public transit must be a bigger part of the transportation equation.)
Setting a minimum standard wage. (A clear and compelling editorial on a fairer distribution of the wealth.) www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-minimum-wage-20120129,0,103583.story
Reining in college costs: an agenda for Maryland. (Senator Jim Rosapepe from Prince Georges County is a friend with whom I work closely.)
A casino-for-hospital deal is a sucker bet. (Even though this proposed casino is in Prince Georges County, it will affect the entire state.)
Environmental Matters Committee
This week all of the committees began committee bill hearings. You may review the committees’ agendas at http://mlis.state.md.us/ and click on Hearing schedule.
The Environmental Matters Committee on which I serve heard two bills of significant interest:
HB1 Environment – Recycling in Apartment Buildings and Condominiums.
HB 55 Motor Vehicles – Use of Text Message Device While Driving.
CLIMATE CHANGE TOWN MEETING ON FRACKING held January 31 at East Columbia Library
Many of you are probably aware of the Academy Award-Winning Documentary, Gasland, about “fracking”, a potentially dangerous and destructive method of gas extraction. During last year’s legislative session, I co-sponsored a bill which would have addressed the potential extraction of natural gas from shale formations in Maryland. The bill passed out of the Environmental Matters Committee on which I serve and out of the full House of Delegates as well. Unfortunately, it did not fare well in the Senate.
On January 31, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the League of Women Voters, and several other groups sponsored a town meeting in Columbia where Delegate Mizeur and acclaimed environmentalist, Mike Tidwell, spoke about fracking and the bills that will be considered during this session.
Click here for Liz's email update from the week of January 20.
Click here to read Liz's email updates for the 2011 Legislative Session (January - April 2011);