March 23, 2012
Yesterday the full House was on the floor in the State House in legislative session from 10 am to 9 pm without a break. We will have another long day today and will be back again tomorrow, Saturday. Today Columbia resident Steve Parr and his two sons, Chas and Shane, are spending the day with me in Annapolis. They placed the winning bid at an auction on “Shadow Liz Bobo for a Day in Annapolis.” From a seat in the balcony overlooking the floor of the House in the State House, the guys surely got an eyeful and an earful. It is so encouraging to see two boys with a genuine and deep interest in the legislature’s work.
The bulk of our time was taken up with budgetary matters for these two days. Given the reduction in revenues in recent years, it is quite sobering to realize that Maryland is in as good financial shape as any state in our nation. This week’s message goes out to you within an hour or two of the final vote on the budget in the House.
The House also passed over to the Senate good environmental bills on storm water management and wastewater treatment plants that will benefit Maryland’s streams, rivers, and the precious Chesapeake Bay. Health public policy also improved significantly through passage of the Health Benefits Exchange bill which will move about 350,000 of our state’s 700,000 uninsured to the ranks of the insured.
I don’t know whether I have ever mentioned that one of the most positive aspects of the Maryland legislature is the excellent quality of the legislative staff who work for the various committees and the House and Senate as a whole. Mostly young women and men who work long, hard and frequently under great pressure, they maintain calm and dignity throughout. They are largely responsible for the accuracy and effectiveness of our work, regardless of the subject or public policy. After we legislators finish our day’s work, they continue for many hours ensuring that the legislative product is accurate and conforms with the existing code.
Next Monday is the day when all House bills have to “crossover” to the Senate in order to be guaranteed consideration by that body and the same goes for Senate bills “crossing over” to the House. So Monday will likely be another very long day.
Zach’s inspiration continues to provide me with a lens through which to view this legislative session.
This is a big family weekend for us, with Lloyd’s oldest son, David, attaining the age of 50! Hope I get home in time for the big celebration on Saturday evening.
I value my work in the legislature and consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to do it. I also long to have Sunday at home among the beautiful tree blossoms, ponds, and grass. I wonder whether I will still be able to see Jupiter and Venus doing their dance in the night sky from our top deck?
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.
Common Cause encouraged the legislature to pass House Bill 1103 Election Law – Campaign Contributors – Occupation and Employer (see the organization’s flier). For years, I have worked with Common Cause and other advocates of open government. Although I believe the ultimate answer is in public financing of campaigns, this bill, which the House passed today, provides more transparency to funding of campaigns.
Environmental Matters Committee
O’Malley scales back environmental initiative (Senate Bill 236). The subject of this disappointing news article is the cross filed bill of House Bill 445, Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012. I am a sponsor of this bill and it was assigned to the Environmental Matters Committee and to the Sub-Committee on Land Use and Ethics which I chair. I believe this article reflects an effort by the governor to save this bill which was his initiative to provide more sustainable land use planning in Maryland.
Stormwater Management House Bill 987 (See description)
In 2008 the legislature passed Maryland’s first stormwater management bill, of which I was a sponsor. This week, after years of frustrating delay and roadblocks by some in both state and local government, we finally passed this bill which will provide a funding mechanism for this much needed environmental practice to help clean up our streams, rivers, and the bay.
Read about Zach
To add your name to Liz's email list, click on Contact Liz.