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After holidays, 2002 General Session set to heat up

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on November 27, 2001:

Senator Dyson It may be two months away, but preparation for the 2002 General Assembly Session is already gearing up. So far, the Charles, Calvert and St. Maryís county commissioners have already held meetings with their legislative packages. Some items on their agendas I agree with, some I donít. In the upcoming weeks, civic groups such as the Calvert League of Women Voters, Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Municipal League and others will present legislative proposals that they hope the Assembly will consider.

The Maryland Constitution calls for the legislative session to begin on the second Wednesday of every January and last for at least 90 days. During that time, the Senate and House of Delegates consider more than 2,000 proposed pieces of legislation.

The General Assembly meets regardless of the weather and convenes even during federal and state holidays such as Presidentís Day.

Very rarely do the elements close down the proceedings. I know. Iíve trudged through several awful snowstorms to get there.

As usual, there will be some controversial bills, some frivolous bills and some substantiative bills.

I have already pre-filed two bills. One bill is something Iíve fought strongly for over the past five years. This bill requires the Motor Vehicle Administration to prohibit a minor who has just received their driverís license from transporting individuals other than themselves or a family member for 180 days.

This gives the teen driver half a year to concentrate solely on learning to drive more effectively rather than be distracted by other people in the car. A driver should be in complete control of their faculties while manning the wheel. Numerous studies have proven that this bill in years past will save lives. It is my hope that the committee that has seen fit to kill this bill, despite the full and passionate endorsement of Triple A and local and state law enforcement officers, sees the light this year and passes this key piece of legislation before we lose any more teen drivers.

I will also re-introduce a bill that was killed by a recalcitrant House of Delegates committee chairman last year despite its easy passage in the Senate. That chairman is no longer serving in the House and I expect its passage this year.

This bill, will re-establish the Critical Areas laws that were implemented to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed during Governor Hughesí administration. The Court of Appeals has toned down this 17-year old la over the year. Thatís why it is essential that we protect our Critical Areas especially in light of several new studies that show the Chesapeake Bay is deteriorating worse than we had thought.

Finally, this Session will be a financially belt-tightening one. After years of flush surpluses, Maryland is now is the throes of a near- Recession. I encourage the governor to send us as bare bones a budget as possible this year so that we are not faced with further difficult budget woes in the next several years. We can avoid a statewide financial crisis if we as a body both in the Senate and House show fiscal conservative solidarity. This is not the time to spend money on projects that may be worthwhile, but also not necessary during this particular economic downturn.

As usual, my door in Annapolis is always open as are the doors of the State House. I encourage all of my constituents to observe Marylandís Democratic process in action.

I expect and welcome your opinions and suggestions on any legislation that is pending during the upcoming Session. During the 90-day stay in Annapolis, I can be reached at (800) 492-7122 (ext. 3673) or e-mailed at Roy_Dyson@senate.state.md.us. You can also mail me: Senator Roy Dyson, Senate of Maryland, Annapolis, MD 21401. Additionally, my district office will be open on Mondays. My number there is (301) 994-2826.

But we still have a little ways to go. There are the upcoming winter holidays to enjoy and I wish you all happy and safe celebrations.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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