Tag: legislation

Coalition of Maryland Christian Leaders Back Proposed Fracking Ban

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Protesters outside Baltimore state Sen. Joan Carter Conway’s office.

As the debate about fracking heats up in Annapolis, faith leaders representing thousands of worship houses across the state have thrown their support behind a proposal to permanently ban the drilling practice.

Big Fish Q&A with Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur

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Gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur’s platform is so unapologetically progressive, it makes some of her fellow Maryland Democrats look downright right wing. Her position on marijuana is to outright legalize it. She proposes a broader expansion of pre-kindergarten programs and a higher minimum wage increase than either of her party rivals, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. And her stance against hydraulic fracturing in the state is utterly unambiguous.

“We Did Everything We Were Supposed to Do”: Getting Grace’s Law Passed in Maryland

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Grace McComas took her life after a vicious cyberbullying campaign. Photo via Loyola Magazine.
Grace McComas took her life at 15 after a vicious cyberbullying campaign. Photo via Loyola Magazine.

Christine and David McComas’s daughter, Grace, was “a happy, bubbly kid” with “a contagious sense of humor.” She had strong networks of support — both family and friends — to rely on when a neighborhood bully began harassing her in person and online. The McComas family “did everything [they] were supposed to do” when their daughter began feeling threatened by an older classmate. But after real-life bullying transitioned to cyber-attacks and in-school gossip, the distress became too much for Grace to bear. The 15 year-old killed herself last Easter Sunday, and now her parents are fighting to pass Maryland HB 396, nicknamed “Grace’s Law,” to prevent other families from going through similar heartache.

State Senate Considers Bill to Make Speed Cameras Less Illegal

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Despite it likely being an illegal arrangement, Maryland’s state and local governments have been paying speed camera operators by volume of citations.  The state Senate could change that this week as they consider a bill that would even more expressly prohibit the practice. The bill would also require that the tickets be accompanied by enough information for drivers to “fact-check their citations.”

Senators Have Their Own Kind of Fun with Smoking Bill Amendments

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Maybe because they knew they had to bite the bullet and play it pretty straight to combat a 23 percent increase to judges’ salaries, the Maryland Senate engaged in some screwball maneuvering regarding a bill that would ban smoking in a car with a child 8 years old or younger.

Sen. John Astle, who considers the bill a slippery slope, proposed an amendment intended to make the bill even less attractive, lowering its chance of passing. Oddly enough, his amendment — to raise the age from 8 to sixteen — passed 24-19 on Friday. Then, just before recess and without further debate, Sen. Bill Ferguson, who voted yea on the amendment the first time around, motioned to reconsider it. On the second vote it was defeated 19-25.

Is this how legislators unwind? With joke-voting? Were multiple senators in on it? I’ll probably never know. Thankfully, it’s not really all that important.

By the way, the Senate approved the bill last night, with no goofy amendments.

Smoking in a Car: Child Abuse or an Inalienable Right?

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Maryland Senator Jennie Forehand has authored a bill to ban smoking in cars carrying children under eight years old. This is the kind of bill that sorts voters into neat, partisan categories. If you support it, you’re a big government liberal who thinks people shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decisions; if you’re against it, you’re a conservative ideologue who’s so obsessed with personal freedoms you can’t recognize that smoking in a car with a kid is child abuse, pure and simple.

That said, I’m a little nervous to say what I think about the bill. Okay. Promise you won’t be mad at me. I think that regulating behavior in a car strikes me as a little… opportunistic. Are you still there?

Also, I think a public health campaign aimed at changing people’s minds and making refraining from smoking in a car with children the societal norm would be preferable to unenforceable legislation that will only make car-smoking parents resentful and non-smokers even more self-righteous and judgmental. Wow, that was scary! but we got through it. And you’re still friends with me, right? Right?

Anyway, what’s your position? Are you an elitist, know-it-all liberal? an uncaring conservative? something inbetween?

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