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Liz Bobo
Our State Delegate
for Legislative District 12B
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March 2, 2012:

Believe it or not, as of Monday, there are only five weeks remaining in our roughly thirteen week legislative session.  We still have major environmental, health, economic, and judicial issues to resolve.
The unseasonably warm weather has created a somewhat surreal atmosphere here in Annapolis.  On a couple of days I have found the time for a brisk walk down to the harbor at lunchtime.  Simply beautiful.

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To learn more
about the Maryland General Assembly
and to find specifics about the bills Liz
has worked on,
visit the Maryland General Assembly
Home Page

See the calendar
for the 2012 session.


Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute

Established in 1998, the Institute provides independent, nonpartisan research and analysis of state budget and tax policy priorities. Its particular focus is how policy decisions affect low- and moderate-income families, vulnerable populations, and the important community programs that serve them.
In addition to producing accurate, timely, and accessible research, staff provide briefings on budget and tax policy issues around the state for nonprofit sector advocates and staff members and other entities.
The Institute is a project of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, or "Maryland Nonprofits."  The Institute is part of the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative and the Economic Analysis and Research Network, both of which are national networks of policy research organizations.   

Bills of interest

This week both Senate and House committees held public hearings on the Budget, Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2012 (BRFA). There is a very large gap between projected revenues and budget needs. As you are probably aware, the governor has proposed filling a large part of that gap by transferring the responsibility of a major portion of the pension costs from state to local government. While I remain convinced that we can fill this gap without affecting teacher pensions, I do not agree with an approach suggesting that if we do transfer this responsibility local government will be unable to meet basic needs of its residents. There is virtually no other state in our nation in as good financial shape as Maryland, and Howard County is close to the top, if not at the top, of the list of wealthy counties in our nation.
 
The combined reporting bill HB 941 Maryland Business Tax Fairness Act of which I am a sponsor would contribute significantly to increased revenues. This bill will be heard on March 6th in the Ways and Means Committee at 1:00 pm.

Ssome other revenue raising measures supported by the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute are listed here.

 

News articles related to major issues in this legislative session 

Maryland lawmakers now turn focus on budget, cuts, taxes
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/26/maryland-lawmakers-now-turn-focus-budget-cuts-taxe/?page=1

Those of you who attended my legislative town meeting last week may recall my mentioning and introducing Glenore Shirley who had worked as the head librarian for the Maryland prison system, inspiring many inmates to develop a strong love of reading which had a very positive impact on their lives.  This week I came upon the article below about Glenore.  Funds for the state prison library were reduced, and she is no longer working there.  Yet we have allowed numerous tax breaks for corporations to continue.

Glennor Shirley, head librarian for Md. prisons, believes in books behind bars
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/glennor-shirley-head-librarian-for-md-prisons-believes-in-books-behind-bars/2011/03/25/AFXcTbYB_story.html

Environmental Matters Committee  

Today in committee we held public hearings on seven bills relating to Marcellus Shale:

HB 1033 Environment - Gas and Oil Leasing Agent - Notice to Landowner
HB 1034 Environment - Oil and Gas Leases - Rick Disclosures
HB 1040 Environment - Gas and Oil Leases - Recordation
HB 1123 Environment - Presumptive Impact Areas - Damage Caused by Gas Wells in Deep Shale Deposits
HB 1170 - Fracking Records Transparency Act
HB 1172 Environment - Gas and Oil Lease Registry
HB 1204 - The Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Study Fee

I am a sponsor of six of these bills. Delegate Heather Mizeur, who spoke at the East Columbia library last month on the dangers of fracking, is the lead sponsor. I am still hopeful that we will not allow the very dangerous practice of fracking in our state.  If we do, the provisions in these bills will provide much needed safeguards.

Read about Zach

Read past email updates:
week of February 23
week of February 17
week of February 10, note on Feb. 16
week of February 3
Because of Zach's hospitalization, there was no legislative update for the week of January 27.
week of January 20
week of January 13

Click here to read Liz's email updates for the 2011 Legislative Session (January - April 2011);
click here to read Liz's email updates for the remainder of 2011 (April - December 2011).

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