2,049 bills later, General Assembly members come home

Posted on June 15, 1999 at 23:57:08:

We all come to Annapolis in January armed with good intentions. We being the Senators and Delegates from Maryland. The intentions being an idea that is formulated into a bill which we all hope will become law. This past session, 2,049 bills and joint resolutions were introduced. By the end, 830 bills and resolutions passed both the Senate and House and waited for Governor
Glendening's signature to become law.

On May 27, the governor held the last of three "bill signing" days in which legislators' hard work paid off with a stroke of a pen. For instance, the College of Southern Maryland, which will unite Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's under one uniform community college was officially established by Governor Glendening's signature on May 27.

Luckily, all of the bills that I introduced and supported were not among the 10 bills vetoed by the governor for policy reasons. Other bills were vetoed by the governor only because they were duplicates of ones already signed. One of those bills that I strongly supported had the governor wavering until the last day when he decided to sign it. That bill -- which became law after thorough researching was done by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran --prohibits anyone in Maryland from assisting in another's suicide. We are now ensured that it will be illegal to allow someone like a Dr. Kevorkian to practice his bad medicine in Maryland.

Here's a breakdown of the General Assembly bills. The 144 members of the House of Delegates sponsored 1,219 bills while the Senate sponsored 795 bills. The Senate also had 11 joint resolutions while the House came up with 24 joint resolutions.

Oh, and we also found time to pass Maryland's annual budget -- the most significant thing lawmakers are sent to Annapolis to do.

Overall, I sponsored, or co-sponsored 47 bills. Of those, 17 passed and were signed into law.

This session was not without its unique -- or fruitless -- bills. Perhaps among the most useless laws to be passed changes the residency requirement of someone running for office in Baltimore City from a year to six months. This bill was introduced and pushed hard by many members of the Baltimore City delegation in order to allow NAACP President and former Congressman Kweisi Mfume to run for Mayor of Charm City. But last week, Mfume opted not to run for mayor after all the prodding by the Baltimore City delegation, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Among the more unique, yet well-intentioned bills was House Bill 928. HB 928 would have prohibited live elephants from entertaining in the state. The sponsor believed that using elephants for entertainment -- usually circuses, is cruel and should be banished. This piece of legislation got a lot of press because of its uniqueness, but failed.

Another interesting bill that passed and that I supported was set to help Maryland residents who suffered in the Holocaust. It goes to show that the horror of 50 years ago is still very with us. It would have provided tax relief for victims of Nazi persecution and for payments or distributions to victims of Nazi persecution or their spouses or descendants.

I too had an interesting bill that drew calls from the press, but didn't pass muster by my colleagues. This piece of legislation(SB 151), if passed, would have outfitted every senior citizen activity center in the state with access to the Internet. I believed this would have been extremely beneficial to seniors. For instance, it would have provided them a lot of information they might otherwise have trouble getting such as medical news about their ailments. Seniors also would have been able to e-mail their loved ones off this access. The cost of doing this was deemed to high though and the measure failed.

So with the governor signing the last remaining bills, all the work done by the 1999 General Assembly session is over until the historic millennium.

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