March 9, 2012
A beautiful soul passed from the earth this week. Patty Rouse devoted her life to creating inclusive communities with respect for all. The Baltimore Sun said that she “devoted her life to making sure that decent and affordable housing was accessible to all Americans.” I don’t believe this woman even knew the concept of “lip service” when it came to housing for lower income individuals and families. Patty and I used to enjoy meeting and “catching up” at the Wilde Lake Giant. We were blessed to have her living among us in our beloved New Town of Columbia for so many years. We could do nothing but benefit by keeping her in mind as we go about community involvement.
Here in Annapolis, longer morning full sessions on the floor of the House as well as much longer afternoon public bill hearings in committees continuing well into the evenings characterized this week. Not surprisingly given the activist community in which we live, I saw some of our neighbors in the halls of Annapolis coming to testify on issues ranging from health care to the citizens’ right to a fair referendum process.
We have two weeks remaining until “crossover” day on March 26. This is the date by which House Bills must receive final approval in the chamber and “crossover” to the Senate. The same applies for Senate bills crossing over to the House.
Because of the level of difficulty with the budget this year, which got us off to a slow start, we will most likely be in session some weekend days this month. The bright side of this is that whenever we do get a break, there is no more beautiful historic town in which to walk around than Annapolis. The weather has been more than cooperative this year.
I am mindful of how beautiful it is to be alive.
To learn more
about the Maryland General Assembly
and to find specifics about the bills Liz
has worked on,
visit the Maryland General Assembly
See the calendar
for the 2012 session.
News articles related to major issues in this legislative session
Three articles or editorials on the budget
The General Assembly's rewrite
Our view: If Maryland lawmakers want to scrap Gov. Martin O'Malley's more controversial budget proposals, they had better be prepared to deal with the consequences (One more editorial viewpoint on the budget, which is still undergoing a great amount of discussion and debate.)
Senate panel approves income tax increase
(Just yesterday evening, the Senate Budget Committee passed their version of the budget for consideration by the full Senate. They made several major amendments to the governor’s proposed budget. Next week the House Appropriations will vote on their version and move it on to the full House of Delegates for debate. Any differences between the versions passed by the full Senate and House will be resolved in a conference committee consisting of some members from each body. The legislative session ends four weeks from next Monday on April 9 at midnight. If the budget has not had its final resolution by then, we would need to continue in special session.)
Close corporate tax loopholes through combined reporting
See attachment (I covered this issue in an earlier e-newsletter this session. As in years past, I am a sponsor of the subject legislation, HB 941, To date it has not passed in either the House or Senate committee.)
Environmental Matters Committee
Study: Natural gas could mean big bucks for state
(This article, which points out the profit that could be made by fracking in Maryland, quotes an economist from the Baltimore Washington area who has often been quoted pointing out the profitability of some dense development. Several bills which would regulate fracking are still pending in committee.)
Chicken without a side of arsenic
Our view: Maryland lawmakers have an opportunity to protect consumers, the environment and the poultry industry by banning arsenic in feed (The subject bill of this strong favorable editorial is still pending in committee after undergoing several work sessions. I am a sponsor.)
Lawmakers gird for renewed debate on lead poisoning - Landlords seek help with lawsuits; advocates want more homes regulated
(The fact that many Maryland children are still being stricken with lead poisoning is shocking, and the cases are not limited solely to Baltimore City. Children living in homes built prior to 1950 in other communities are also at risk. We have some experts on this issue living right in our Columbia community. They have participated over the years in working to get legislation in place which will give strong safeguards against lead poisoning. This week in committee we had public hearings on several bills to clarify the legal issues involved in this fundamental and preventable health matter.)
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