SENATE OF MARYLAND
ANNAPOLIS. MARYLAND 214O1-1991
27 December 1996
Happy New Year! For legislators in Maryland the new year means a new session of
the Maryland General Assembly. State law requires the reconvening of the legislature
on the second Wednesday in January for a 90-day session. This par the session begins
on its earliest possible date, January 8.
At the end of the 1996 Maryland General Assembly it looked like several issues were
going to be on the plate in 1997. But now the biggest and potentially most divisive
issue, casino Rambling, has been derailed by the governor's assertions, an two separate
occasions, that he would veto any such legislation. I hope that has put to rest that issue,
since I am opposed to the introduction of casinos and the expansion of gambling in the
The biggest statewide issue is likely to be the proposed reduction in the state income
tax. Our delegation is faced with a problem in that the likely plan is to raise the money
for that by doubling the tax on a pack of cigarettes. I have talked about this issue in
previous columns. I do favor the decrease in the income tax rate but hope that we can
find other ways for paying for it than a tax which will send a negative signal for our
Southern Maryland tobacco industry.
A big regional issue is the proposed change from Charles County Community College
to the College of Southern Maryland. The proposal calls for changing the system of
separate community college boards in Calvert and St. Mary's and an overseeing board
in Charles to one board serving all three counties and with representation from the three
counties. The biggest stumbling block which I have heard to date relates to the numbers
of representatives from St. Mary's and Calvert on the board. I hope we can iron out
I, however, will keep a completely open mind until after there is a more thorough airing
of the issue here in Southern Maryland. The concept was developed very quietly and
only unveiled to the general public when formal presentations were made to the three
county commissioner boards. I believe public hearings are necessary locally on this
important local issue before we even think about introducing a bill in Annapolis.
The community colleges in Calvert and St. Mary's are sure to grow in the coming years.
The new campus of the Community College at St. Mary's in Leonardtown will be
opening in January and everyone who has toured it has brought back rave reviews. We
want to make sure that the two counties I represent have fair representation on the new
community college board.
The new year will also bring the decision by the state on the purchase of the Myrtle
Point property on the Patuxent River. The plan to appropriate $1.6 million in state funds
and $400,000 in local open space monies will be heard by the Maryland Board of
Public Works on the same day as the opening of the legislative session. This park on
the Patuxent River could be a crown jewel for public places in our area in years to
The new year also brings a change in my office scheduling for the legislative session.
Beginning the second week in January and through the second week in April my district
office in Great Mills will only be open on Mondays. Dick Myers, my administrative
aide, will be in the Great Mills office on Mondays to meet with constituents. For the
90-day legislative session my Annapolis office wi11 be open Monday through Friday
for calls and visits.
The phone number for the Annapolis office is 1-800-492-7122, extension 3673 or you
can call direct to either 1-410-841-3673 or 1-301-858-3673. I'm located in Room
215 of the James Senate Office Building. I encourage everyone to visit Annapolis and
see our legislature in action. Call our office in advance and we can arrange some special
tours for you. Schools are especially encouraged to make field trips to our state capital.
I am excited about the new year and the prospects for the upcoming legislative session.
I hope to hear from you throughout the session so that we can make this a productive
one for the state and for Legislative District 29 (Calvert and St. Mary's counties).