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2004 General Assembly Session will be a Challenge

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on December 09, 2003:

Senator Dyson Itís that time of year again; the 2004 General Assembly Session is set to get underway on Jan. 14. Maryland, like every other state in the union, not to mention the country, faces a budget deficit. This year, working with the governor and an improving economy, I believe we will find a way to work ourselves out of the deficit and present a budget that will lead us back to economic good fortune.

As usual, I intend to introduce several bills this Session that I believe will make our state a better place to live. For the first time since I introduced it, my bill to prohibit newly licensed drivers under 18 to carry a passenger for the first 180 days after they receive their license passed the Senate with a resounding vote. Unfortunately, the House version was never brought up for a vote. I have addressed concerns members of the House had about my bill and feel that this very important life-saving measure will pass both chambers this Session.

I have also introduced legislation to make sure all Maryland waters are open for sports-fishermen unless there is a specified health or safety reason for a waterway to be closed.

I have been urged to amend and strengthen the open meetings laws in St. Maryís and Calvert counties. It is essential that the public be involved in virtually every facet governmentís decision making. No public policy decision should be made behind closed doors.

There has also been a lot of talk about funding the Bridge to Excellence, often referred to as the Thornton plan. This was a bill that was signed into law two years ago. However, I voted against the bill because it was an unfunded mandate and because it gave a disproportionate amount of money to different counties. I have never supported unfunded mandates and I donít believe that counties with more representation in the General Assembly should receive more money than those with less representation. I felt Southern Maryland did not get its proper share under the Thornton plan.

Regarding Thornton, I plan to introduce legislation that will give each countyís board of education the opportunity to opt out of the state mandate for the costly and still yet-to-be proven effectiveness of full-day kindergarten.

The General Assembly Session and run through the second week of April. I will be in Annapolis Monday through Fridays until the Session ends on April 12. My district office will be open on Mondays from 9-4:30.

As always, I encourage all of my constituents to make a visit to our state capital in Annapolis to see the legislature in action. Of course, I have an open door policy both in Annapolis and in my district office. I can be reached in Annapolis at (800) 492-7122, ext. 3673 or by e-mail at Roy_Dyson AT senate.state.md.us.

Unfortunately, due to viruses attached to some e-mails, I cannot open any that do not have a name and a proper subject matter that is understandable to me. My local number at my district office is (301) 994-2826. Although this office will not be open Tuesdays through Fridays during the Session, I check my voice mails at least five times a day. If you wish to reach me by mail, my address in Annapolis is: 102 James Senate Office Building; Annapolis, MD 21401. My district address is P.O. Box 229; Great Mills, MD 20634. I look forward to hearing from you.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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