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February 16, 2012
I am sitting on the floor of the House of Delegates. The Speaker has just announced that the schedule for today’s legislative session is being changed. The full House of Delegates will reconvene at 5:30 pm this evening to debate the Marriage Equality Bill. As you may know, the vote count on this very important piece of legislation is very close. We will most likely go well into the night, and every single vote will count.
So, despite this very late notice, I am rescheduling my annual Legislative Town Meeting for next Thursday, February 23, at 7:30 pm.
I want to express my appreciation to the staff at Kahler Hall for accommodating us on such short notice.
I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, and I feel sure that you understand.
I hope to see many of you a week from this evening, Thursday, February 23, at 7:30 pm at Kahler Hall in Harper’s Choice. We will have our usual good discussion of the issues before us during this session.
It is a privilege to be representing you here in Annapolis.
February 10, 2012
Most of this week has been devoted to bill hearings in legislative committees. To date, with the exception of a legislative procedural rule amendment, we have had no votes on the floor of the full House of Delegates. Yesterday, we had our first voting session in the Environmental Matters Committee and other committees did the same. The bills that were given a favorable vote in committee will be on the floor of the House next week. Then the pace will pick up here in Annapolis throughout the rest of the session until sine die on April 9, 2012.
News articles related to major issues in this legislative session
A Budget that Promotes Economic Health (I certainly don’t agree with the governor’s entire budget. I do believe that it will not be possible to balance this budget in an economically just way without courage and some sacrifice.)
The Courts Catastrophe (Have you recently seen any TV coverage or read a newspaper - electronic included - without some coverage of the disastrous effect of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision?)
Wind energy is clean, but wind energy systems are not
Mortgage Settlement: A good deal for Maryland (This lead editorial in today's Baltimore Sun, describes the multi-state mortgage foreclosure settlement with five national big banks as "a great deal of help for the state's struggling homeowners, with little downside." Again on balance, I am glad that Maryland's Attorney General, Doug Gansler, signed onto this agreement over the industry's faulty foreclosure procedures.)
Mortgage Settlement has Shortcomings, Critics Say (More than ten years ago, I was a founder of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition whose director calls this "the beginning, not the end, for banks to step up to the plate and take real responsibility for their role in the housing crisis." I agree strongly.)
Environmental Matters Committee
On Wednesday, the Environmental Matters Committee received an update on the State’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan. A major element of this plan is the Maryland Clean Cars Program. Attached is an outline of this program which was given to the committee. It is very gratifying to me to see the growing positive impact of the 2007 Maryland Clean Cars Act of which I was the prime sponsor.
Click here for Liz's email update from the week of February 3.