Nancy Jacobs: State Senate: Maryland District 34 A/B
This legislative session was one for the books! Governor O'Malley's wish list included the Death Penalty Repeal (imagine if it had been the Baltimore Marathon bombing -- life without parole is justice?), Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 (windmills off Ocean City), the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 (the gas tax), the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (gun ban), the Maryland Highway Safety Act of 2013 (driver's license for illegal immigrants), and the passage of a $37 billion budget.
All these "Acts of 2013" will not soon be forgotten. It's like one of "those gifts" that just keeps on giving -- only I'm not feeling very warm and fuzzy because those gifts the majority party granted to Gov. O'Malley will hurt yours and my wallet in a very major way. While the Governor is preening like the "Emperor's New Clothes" in front of his "presidential mirror", his list of "gifts" to the citizens of Maryland now numbers about 30 in the form of tax increases and new fees. It makes one wonder just what tax or fee he will think of next to levy on Maryland's hard working citizens.
In the 2012 session it was the "flush" tax and taxing the rain. I'm surprised that we haven't been hit with a tax for the air that we breathe. Shhhhh, let's not give him any ideas. As if all this wasn't bad enough, you'll need extra cash to travel in Maryland because higher toll fees are coming July 1st.
It's as though the Governor and his buds are addicted to spending money - your hard earned money!
Meanwhile, there were some very good bills that I introduced this session at little to no cost to you.
Senate Bill 241 - Administrative Procedure Act - Proposed Regulations - Public Hearings and Voting. A bill which would have stopped run away regulations which hurt businesses in the State of Maryland. This would have required the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review to hold a public hearing regarding a proposed regulation if at least 5 members of the Committee request a hearing. It also required the Committee to vote on whether to oppose the adoption of a specified regulation under a specified provision of law. Members of the Committee would also have to be provided with specified notice regarding the scheduling of a meeting. The democrats voted it down.
Senate Bill 213 - Emergency Medical Services - Automated External Defibrillators - Immunity from Liability. This would have provided immunity from civil liability to an individual/business who uses an automatedexternal defibrillator (AED) to provide assistance or medical aid to a victim at the scene of an emergency. According to an American Heart Association Statistical Survey in 2012 -- cardiovascular disease continues to be a major killer in the United States causing about 2,200 deaths a day. I know that should any of us be a victim of a heart attack our life might depend on someone acting quickly. This bill would have removed all liability from using an AED. I've seen today's AED's and a first grader could follow the prompts and save a life. They killed it too.
When laws passed are contrary to voters' opinion, we have a right as citizens to have these issues placed on the ballot. I tried to protect this right with Senate Bill 367 - Election Laws - Petititions - Confidentiality.
In a manner of transparency and not circumventing the General Assembly I addressed in Senate Bill 379 that any regulation that had substantially the same content of a failed bill in either house, it could not be proposed or adopted through regulation. They wouldn't even vote it out of committee - are you surprised?
Senate Bill 628 was a tampering with evidence bill. This bill set in place charges, fines and time served for tampering with evidence that is part of an investigation.
In a continued effort to enable prosecution of murders I introduced Senate Bill 872 which would have allowed the State's Attorney to try a case in multiple counties if the crime was committed in one county and the remains found in another county. You may recall the Felicia Barnes murder case where the murder occurred elsewhere and the body was found in Harford County. Judicial Proceedings held this bill for 2 months before bringing it to a vote. The House was not left with enough time for a committee hearing and to move the bill forward.
Senate Bill 378 would have added to the Move-Over Bill passed in 2010 to vacate a lane closest to a tow truck and other emergency vehicles not currently covered. My committee gave it an unfavorable report. Imagine!
Noteworthy bills which I co-sponsored were: an increase in the income tax deduction on military retirement income, increasing the age to 21 years as victim of human trafficking, a correctional Offiers' Bill of Rights, creation of a criminal law for animal baiting, the formation of the Charles W. Riley Firefighter and Ambulance and Rescue Squad Member Scholarship, and the repeal of speed monitoring cameras.
This legislative session I heard from over 13,000 individuals on gun related bills by email, phone calls and visits to my office. I just wanted to update those who may not be aware. The National Rifle Association President, Dave Keene, announced in April, 2013 that the organization will be pursuing a lawsuit against Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013. The Governor has now signed this bill into law on May 16, 2013. I expect that we should be hearing soon of the suit being filed.
I also heard from many constituents opposed to the Death Penalty Repeal which was passed and signed by the Governor on May 2, 2013. For those of you who may be interested, it was announced by Baltimore County State's Attorney, Scott Shellenberger, and Del. Neil Parrot that they will attempt to get this issue on the ballot for 2014 so that the people of Maryland can decide if we should retain the death penalty. To do this they need to collect 56,000 signatures on a petition by June 30, 2013. If you would like to sign this petition, please go to their website.
Senator Nancy Jacobs
District 34-- Harford and Cecil County