Posted on February 14, 1999 at 23:26:09:
Don't be surprised in the coming days, months and years if you start seeing a rash of strange looking quarters being handed back to you at the bank or at the store. And don't accuse the person giving you these coins of counterfeit. These coins are the real deal.
I'm referring to the commemorative coins that over the next 10 years will be representing each state in the union. The first coin issued is one honoring Delaware -- the First State in the Union. In coming months, you'll see coins celebrating Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia. These were the first five states to enter the Union.
So, when will we see Maryland's comemerative coin? It won't be a long wait. Maryland's quarter will be issued in 2000. Maryland was the seventh state to join the Union. This will be the first time in history that Maryland is represented on a coin.
I was pleased to accept Governor Glendening's appointment to the Maryland Commemorative Quarter Design Selection Committee last year. The task of our committee was to come up with five designs that Governor Glendening will choose as the one he feels is most appropriate for Maryland. The governor's choice is expected by April.
I was pleased that the coin design I pushed for will be one of the five considered for Maryland. This design will depict the Ark and the Dove, the two ships that sailed from England to the colony that would become the state of Maryland in 1788. It was off the shores of St. Clement's Island in St. Mary's County -- forever the mother county of Maryland -- that the Ark and the Dove dropped off their cargo of visitors seeking relief from British oppression.
The Ark and the Dove symbolize so much. They represent birth of a great state and the courage of those who left behind their homeland on a prayer that life in a distant world would be better than the one they left behind.
I won't be a bad sport if my choice is not the one selected by Governor Glendening. The other finalists are all excellent. They are: The Maryland State House, the Maryland State House dome, Maryland's shield over an outline of the state and Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner.
Never a coin collector before sitting on the comemerative coin committee, I now look forward to collecting a quarter from each state. This is one of few of the U.S. Mint's extraordinary endeavors since it introduced the Eisenhower dollar piece in 1971. Other major undertakings by the U.S. Mint include introducing the comemerative Bicentennial coins on the quarter, John F. Kennedy half dollar and the Eisenhower dollar in 1776 and the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979.
This ambitious undertaking by the U.S. Mint was made possible by the bill introduced in 1996 by Congressman Michael Castle of Delaware. It had few hurdles getting through the House and Senate and signed into law by President Clinton.
Update from Annapolis: I was pleased this past week to introduce a bill that calls for the state to contribute $30,000 to move and renovate the old Wallville School near St. Leonard. The Friends of the Old Wallville School, a dedicated group of volunteers will help match the $30,000 state grant if the bill is passed. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (D-Calvert, Prince George's) has agreed to co-sponsor this legislation. The Wallville School is the oldest existing African-American School in Calvert County.
On another issue, the bill calling for BGE to become a holding company was passed into law on Feb. 3. I was pleased to vote for this bill. In the coming days, Senate committees will hear a bill that I have supported strongly for several years. It calls for the state to lower the legal blood alcohol limit in which a driver can be arrested for drunken driving from .10 to .08. I believe this is a crucial measure that will convince more potential drunk drivers from getting on the road.