Sunday, March 11, 2012
Let's get the statistical data out of the way.
The FBI estimates that there are approximately 350,000,000 firearms in the United States. One for every man, woman, and child. And in the U.S. there are approximately 30,000 people killed by firearms annually.
In comparison there are approximately 270,000 ,000 motor vehicles in operation - about 3/4 for every man woman, and child. Yet in the U.S. approximately 33,000 people die in M.V. accidents during the same time period.
Statistically, motor vehicles account for approximately 30% more deaths than firearms.
From a separate source:
"According to Statistics, Facts and Quotes there were 30,694 gun-related deaths in the US in 2005 vs Fatal Car Accident, Crash Statistics: Stats Auto, Traffic, Car, Collision, Traffic showing 43,443 vehicular fatalties that same year. So guns overall are about 71% as deadly as vehicles in the US.
No matter how you slice it, motor vehicles are much more likely to cause human death than a firearm. Interestingly, although firearms are far too regulated (in my opinion), there are more regulations relating to motor vehicles at all levels of government. Yet the loss of life relating to the operation of motor vehicles continues to be higher than the use of firearms year after year. I find it laughable that the same people who push for increased firearm restrictions based upon emotion, drive automobiles in spite of the fact that more people die in auto accidents than firearm related incidents. The hypocrisy is amazing yet expected.
All that being said, there is one common denominator upon which those who push an anti-gun agenda refuse to place the appropriate blame - people. The blame needs to be placed upon the shoulders of those people involved in the incidents. To coin a phrase "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." To go further, people have been killing people since the beginning of recorded history. I mean....Cain slew Abel.....the 3rd and 4th people on the planet....and he didn't use a gun.
So many people talk about new laws and tougher laws. The truth is that the laws on the books now aren't used as intended. Exile is a joke. Disarm was a joke. The courts are a joke. The air conditioned jails with fully furnished gymnasiums, libraries, etc., are jokes. Police officers go out and lock the criminals up yet the courts and the system turn them back out on the public - in spite of "mandatory" sentences associated with the aforementioned programs. The recidivism rates are subsequently increasing. As a result the liberals among us lash out at inanimate objects and convince liberal lawmakers to further encroach on the constitutional rights of all Americans by creating Draconian laws that strip the law abiding citizens of the right to defend themselves as well as the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. As these rights are stripped away from us we become easier targets for those who would take advantage of the victims created by these unconstitutional laws.
I disagree with the Editor of the Daily Times. It isn't a difficult balance to strike between our constitutional rights and public safety. It's a very easy balance to strike. In fact it's a balance that will finds it's natural equilibrium - if the government stops intruding on the rights of men (and women). I do agree that not everyone has the right to keep and bear arms. In much the same way that not eveyone has the right to enjoy liberty. Who? Criminals! Those who have shown that they cannot be responsible enough to enjoy the liberties inherent in being a law abiding citizen! I believe it is the job of the government to keep criminals locked away. But it can never be within the authority of the government to prevent peaceful citizens from enjoying any of their rights. Not one! Those rights are inalienable. They cannot be taken away. Not by government - federal, state, or local. Not by other citizens - majority or not. "The right or the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! Period. What part of that amendment do they not understand?
This nation was founded upon the principals of individual freedom and liberty. The mindset exhibited by the Editor of the Daily Times is all too common in America today. It's one which would compromise liberty for security. Because that mindset prevails on so many fronts, our liberty - the very foundation of this nation - continues to erode. This is rendering a nation that depends upon a government to do what it can never do. Take care of every need of our citizens. We have watched this country degrade for the past several decades from one based upon freedom to one where almost half of it's people depend upon it for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and safety. Unless those among us who can see the truth are willing to stand up and openly ridicule this transition toward a total dependency upon government, we are destined to meet the same fate as the people of every other nation/government that placed it's fate into the hands of a government that serves a select few at the cost of freedom.
The site bashes academic tracking by race and "Bastardized" magnet schools that Jones says we have in Wicomico County. He claims the Magnet program ensures racial inequity in Wicomico schools.
The site is scandalous and libelous against the Wicomico Board of Ed and though it states that the site is not necessarily the opinions of anyone else at the BOE, Jones uses BOE data, used BOE background info, and was identified as a BOE employee. How did he get to present this in front of a conference with 12 other BOE present??
How could he be allowed to use this data that is clearly Wicomico data?
How could this message be approved by Wicomico officials to give at a National Conference?
Why did 12 other BOE employees attend?
Who paid for their expenses?
Was Dr Jones paid as a speaker? Was he on BOE time?
Who paid for his expense?
How could Dr. Jones still be on the BOE payroll?
This fiasco further points out the lack of leadership and oversight at the BOE. The public will be outraged to learn of this.
Thousands of miles from their home in Seymour, Tenn., Scott and Theresa Johnson host Shabbat dinners in their Jerusalem apartment every Friday night for "lone soldiers" — as the young men and women who travel from foreign countries to serve in the Israeli army are known.
Typically, 20 or 30 of the soldiers join the Johnsons for a traditional meal and wine and to join in a rousing rendition of "Shalom Aleichem," an old Hebrew song sung to greet the Sabbath day of rest. Scott Johnson leads the song wearing a "kippah" — a traditional Jewish head cover — and standing beneath a painting of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held prisoner in Gaza for five years before being released in October.
The Johnsons, however, are not Jewish. They are evangelical Christians who live in Israel full-time, operating a U.S.-based 501 c(3) nonprofit, the Servants to Christ Corp.
Happy dogs will rule the air waves this year, thanks to a new sponsor for America's most prestigious dog competition and a decision to air ads that shift the focus away from sad-eyed animals in need of adoption.
"The feedback we got from our primary audience was that they were seeing commercials that made them want to turn the channel," Westminster spokesman and longtime TV host David Frei said Thursday.
It’s a twist of irony: The Russian news website Pravda has published an accusation that the American media is “tame,” afraid to publish news and is “deliberately hiding the evidence published on the internet about [President Obama's] defrauding of the American public and the deliberate evisceration of the Constitution of the United States.”
In a March 7 Pravda column, “Arizona sheriff finds Obama presidential qualifications forged,” Dianna Cotter, a senior at American Military University, blasts America’s mainstream media for their virtual silence about Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s six-month investigation into the controversy surrounding Obama’s birth certificate and his constitutional eligibility for office.
“A singularly remarkable event has taken place in the United States of America,” Cotter wrote. “This event occurred in Arizona on March 1st and was an earth shattering revelation. … Yet, in the five days since [Arpaio's] revelations there has been little in the way of serious reporting on the findings he presented in his presser. With 6 short videos, the Sheriff and his team presented a devastating case, one the tame US press is apparently unable to report.”
Cotter recalls Obama April 27, 2011, press conference in which he “walked into the White House Press room with a Cheshire cat like grin and a ‘Long Form Birth Certificate’ from the State of Hawaii in hand.”
Governor Chris Christie To ‘Idiot’ Student: ‘Damn Man, I’m Governor, Could You Shut Up For A Second?’
Fox News reports that during Friday morning's town hall press conference, Christie called on 34-year-old law student William Brown. The two got into a debate over a plan to rename Rutgers University, Rutgers Camden-Rowan. Brown, who is active in Democratic Party politics, says the merger and name change would negatively affect the university's reputation.
After Christie says that Brown and his fellow classmates who are already enrolled at the university will still receive a Rutgers diploma, Brown interrupts him, shouting back, "What about my son? What about my neighbors? What about my friends?"
Gen. John R. Allen, the American military commander, and Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister, signed the compromise agreement in what diplomats described as a breakthrough in negotiations over a long-term military partnership.
The memorandum of understanding officially hands over control of detainees to an Afghan official as of Friday, but allow for a six-month period of transition to full Afghan control of the American-held detainees, American officials said.
But no one expected him to be this big, when the healthy boy weighed in at 13 pounds, 14 ounces after being delivered by cesarean section, the North County (Calif.) Times reported Saturday.
"How'd he fit?" was the immediate reaction of his mother, Cynthia Sigler of Vista, Calif., after the delivery on Thursday.
A photo of the flier is rapidly spreading online. It has a Chick-Fil-A logo with the message, "Thank you NYU for keeping Chick-Fil-A part of your family. We are now HIRING!"
The outrage, though, sparked over the fine print:
Remember Chick-Fil-A is a Christian company. We strive to have our values reflected in our employees. Please be prepared to discuss your religion, family history, personal relationships, etc., upon interviewing. Chick-Fil-A reserves the right to question, in detail, your sexual relationship history. The Bible and Chick-Fil-A define a traditional relationship as consisting of a man and woman. Anyone living a life of sin need not apply. The Chick-Fil-A foundation. God, Family, Tradition.
"The terms 'That's so gay' and 'No homo'… are thrown around quite a bit," according to Anna Beardsley, a senior at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Virginia, who added, "No one knows how to stop it."
Beardsley was one of six students at a midday forum, Saturday, at the Unitarian Church of Arlington. Sometimes, the kids said, the homophobic slurs are accompanied by physical attacks.
"You cannot walk in the halls [at Langley High School] without hearing someone shouting. 'You're gay. You're a faggot.', said Zack Sanders, a former student at the school, who added that openly gay students are pushed, "into lockers, pushing people into bathrooms, um, in the locker room, having people throw food and drink at you over other lockers."
Portland-area Couple Sues Legacy Health for $3 Million for 'Wrongful Birth' After Child Born with Down syndrome
A doctor asked Deborah Levy if she'd had a prenatal test -- a chorionic villus sampling, or CVS for short -- and Levy said yes, the results showed they'd have a normal, healthy child.
Within days of her birth, however, a blood test confirmed that the little girl, Kalanit, had Down syndrome.
The Levys filed suit against Legacy Health, claiming that Deborah Levy would have aborted her pregnancy had she known her daughter had the chromosomal abnormality. The lawsuit blames Legacy's Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in North Portland and a Legacy lab for allegedly botching the test. The Levys -- who dearly love their daughter, now 4 -- want Legacy to pay for the extra life-time costs of caring for her. That is estimated at about $3 million.
Former Corporal Megan Leavey, 28, wants to take in a German shepherd named Sergeant Rex, who she calls her partner. The pair hunted for IEDs in Iraq during two tours of duty, amounting to over 100 missions, and were both severely injured when an IED exploded near them.
"He's done his duty. It's time for him to relax," Leavey says.
DENVER — Courts are ruling in favor of allowing those with concealed-carry permits to bring their handguns on campus, but universities are figuring out ways to keep the guns out.
Gun rights advocates recently notched major legal victories in Colorado and Oregon, with courts in both states agreeing that university policies banning firearms on campus must defer to state laws allowing permit holders to carry concealed handguns.
In response, however, university officials in Oregon and Virginia have enacted policies allowing concealed carry on campus but not in buildings, including classrooms, dormitories, event centers and dining halls.
“Go back and look up the Teapot Dome Scandal,” Savage told listeners. “When I was a schoolboy, I was taught that that was the worst case of corruption in U.S. history. But it pales by comparison to what goes on under the Obama gang.”
He added that if America had a “real opposition party, I would retire,” but “the Republican Party isn’t doing its job”.
Savage welcomed real estate mogul and Mitt Romney campaign advisor Donald Trump to the show and warned him not to adopt John McCain’s failed strategy of avoiding direct attacks on Obama.More
He is believed to be the only American soldier held in captivity by the Taliban—and about three months ago he made a daring break for freedom.
One night in late August or early September, 25-year-old Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, jumped from a first-floor window of the mud-brick house in Pakistan in which he had been imprisoned and headed into the nearby underbrush and forested mountains, according to three reliable militant sources who got the story from fighters who were present during the prisoner’s attempted escape. They spoke exclusively to the Daily Beast.
Bergdahl has been in militant hands since June 30, 2009, when he was captured in Afghanistan’s Paktika province by a guerrilla force under Mullah Sangin, a senior commander in the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network. In a July 2009 video, the first of five videos that the militants have released, Bergdahl is sitting cross-legged on a blanket, with a glass mug in front of him. He explains that he was captured after falling behind on a foot patrol with his unit: the First Battalion, 501 Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. As he talks he stops several times so he can choke back tears.
I've asked this question to a number of people and most them respond as if I were crazy for asking. They tell me that this is America , land of the free and that there will always be elections. I tell them that we are no longer the land of the free and that if Obama gets re-elected in 2012, that this just may be America 's last election.
In the past three years, the Obama administration has been very carefully crafting the nation for a political take over by his Marxist regime and this isn't just my opinion.
Popular radio talk show host Michael Savage is the son of Russian immigrants and is very familiar with Soviet and European history.
Savage warned his listeners this week saying, "I have to tell you that if this man, God forbid, is the next president of the United States, we're going to be living in something along the lines of - people say Europe. I don't believe it's going to be like Europe - I think it will be closer to Chavez's South American dictatorship.
"This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history. It's not politics as usual. It's not just Democrats versus Republicans. Obama has a long history of being at odds with American values and with America itself and the core principles of this country. They don't want government-sponsored opinions. They only want government-sponsored 'Pravda.' That's exactly what the government-media complex tells you on a daily basis - nothing but the government-media complex party line. Pay attention. Your freedom may be at stake."
Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a small group of people in an Iowa coffee house that,"Barack Obama is not incompetent, ladies and gentleman. He knows exactly what he's doing and why he's doing it. He sees America differently than you see America .
[Obama] has gone out of his way to divide this country in a way I haven't seen since the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt went around to divide his country. That's his hero. What makes America great in Obama's mind is that the government takes money from somebody and gives it to somebody else. No, that's what makes America , France ."
With his control over the Executive and Judicial branches of the government, the stage is set for a complete takeover of the government. Think about it.
Since taking office, instead of helping the economy, Obama has purposely escalated the economic crisis by plunging the country into unprecedented debt. He has a number of programs that are designed to go into effect in January 2013, just in time for his second term of office. The economic burden and increased taxes on everyone will be enough to cause the final economic collapse of the country. As soon as that happens, Obama declares Martial Law and assumes dictatorial control of the nation.
The Department of Justice has already been subverting federal laws to strip us of a number of freedoms. The Supreme Court and many of the other federal courts have been seeded with socialistic liberal judges that will rule in Obama's favor on virtually anything, thus ending constitutional rule and law.
He's already changing the face of America 's military. Allowing homosexuals to openly serve along with changing the retirement program is causing many conservative military leaders to resign commissions and leave the military. Some Pentagon officials are also noting that an increase in the enlistment of radical Muslims into the US military where they get all the training they need on weapons and defense systems. We have no idea how many of them there are in the armed forces or in what positions they may hold.
Obama has been wielding executive powers this past year as if he were already a dictator. When Congress is not doing his bidding, he simply bypasses them and used an executive order to accomplish it anyway. This has set the stage for his disbandment of Congress. He would not be the first world leader to take control of a nation and disband the legislative branch of government.
He has been effectively using the media to anesthetize the public to the dangers he poses. Like a patient being prepped for surgery, people are numb to the changes and won't have a clue what took place until they wake up in recovery and realize that free America has been removed and replaced with a regime that may parallel those of Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Chavez and Castro.
For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I earnestly pray that we are spared from what seems a certain future and that Obama is overwhelmingly defeated in 2012. Otherwise, heaven help us.
“Because the Little Sisters of the Poor cannot in conscience directly provide or collaborate in the provision of services that conflict with Church teaching, we find ourselves in the irreconcilable situation of being forced to either stop serving and employing people of all faiths in our ministry – so that we will fall under the narrow exemption – or to stop providing health care coverage to our employees,” the order said on March 1.
“Either path threatens to end our service to the elderly in America. The Little Sisters are fervently praying that this issue will be resolved before we are forced to take concrete action in response to this unjust mandate.”
Their order serves 13,000 needy elderly of all faiths in 31 countries around the world. In the U.S., it has 30 homes for the elderly, accommodating 2,500 low-income seniors.
The Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires employers to provide coverage for “preventive health.” It defines this coverage to include sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs. The Obama administration’s proposed compromise would mandate that insurance companies, not employers, provide this coverage.
The mandate’s religious exemption applies only to employers who primarily serve and employ their coreligionists and have the inculcation of religious values as their primary purpose.
“This event just adds to the day’s festivities,” said run co-organizer Chris Klebe of OC Tri-Running Sports Inc. “After the race, people will have plenty of time to head over to the parade.”
The inaugural event last year drew approximately 530 runners. Klebe said about 250 athletes pre-registered, while the remainder signed up the day before at Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, located on the Boardwalk at Fourth Street or on the morning of the race.
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley submitted 131 state regulations to be repealed, revised or streamlined to the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee. On October 17, 2011, Governor O’Malley signed an Executive Order requiring all State agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of their regulations in order to identify those that could be modified, streamlined, or repealed in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on Maryland’s businesses and promote economic growth and spark faster job creation.
“Making it easier to do business in Maryland – making it easier for businesses to add to their payrolls - remains a top priority,” said Governor O’Malley. “Because of the tough choices we have made together over the last six years, unemployment is down to a three year low, we have recovered 45 percent of the jobs lost during the recession and Maryland’s businesses are creating jobs again. But better is not good enough. Together, we can create more jobs, as our economy – both nationally and here in Maryland – shows very real signs of improving.”
Throughout the review process, the Governor’s Office solicited input from partners in the business community and established a public comment forum on the Maryland Made Easy website to solicit comments from the general public. The Governor’s Office received more than 350 comments via the website, all of which were monitored and distributed to the appropriate agencies for review and consideration.
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown remain committed to creating jobs. In addition to the Executive Order, Governor O’Malley hosted the Maryland Made Easy 2012 Symposium on Job Creation in December to solicit input from business leaders, educators and industry stakeholders on how the state can make it easier for businesses to grow and thrive in Maryland.
The attached spreadsheet is the culmination of our regulatory review process, with suggestions for repeal, streamlining, and revision.
Week 9 March 5-9, 2012
Monday Evening Session
The unions were in town on Monday. I had an interesting visit from many representatives from the Department of Juvenile Justice complaining about their budget. I told them the budget belonged to the governor and, although he had increased spending by billions over the past few years (including a billion this year), the lack of funds available for our juvenile programs represent his underfunding of these areas. I told them they needed to discuss it with the governor. They agreed, and then stated, “We tried to get in to see him but he will not see us”. Why am I not surprised?
The following link will allow you to see the bills presented on First and Second Reader during the Monday session. There were no Third Reader Bills.
Tuesday Morning Session
The following link will allow you to see the bills presented on First and Second Reader during the Tuesday session. There were no Third Reader Bills.
Judiciary Committee Hearings on Tuesday
HB-453 seeks to require persons who receive Probation Before Judgment or Nolo Contendere sentences to pay into the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. This fund is woefully depleted and this requirement would provide some much needed supplemental funds. HB-1148 seeks to provide interpreters for victims of crime including those who may be listening in the audience. Currently, Maryland includes $5 million in their operating budget for interpreters. It was suggested that convicted individuals could be required to pay for interpreter services. HB-209 would insure that a person previously convicted of a crime in another state would have that record applied to charges in Maryland when it comes to crimes committed with firearms. With the cross border areas that Maryland deals with everyday, this just makes sense. HB-536 would require an appeal of a District Court conviction to be done “on the record” and conveyed to the Circuit Court. There were questions concerning the tainting of a defendant’s case if the District Court records were known by the trial judge in the Circuit Court. HB-796 would create a video visitation program to be administered by the Department of Public Safety for state prisoners to have video up links with family members. It seems the DOC was already working on a pilot program for this to occur. The cost of increased budget expenditures will probably keep this from happening although the idea has merit.
HB-1066 seeks to create an enhanced penalty for a burglary performed on a pharmacy of up to 20 years or more depending upon the use or lack of a weapon. This bill has been introduced as a result of an exploding number of burglaries and robberies of pharmacies. Basically this bill would add 5 years to current sentencing limits. HB-909deals with synthetic cannabinoids and seeks to classify them as Schedule 1 in terms of penalties for possession. There are increasingly being utilized by juveniles. These are currently illegal in Worcester County. Some on the committee have difficulty addressing the fact that on one hand, the General Assembly seeks to decriminalize marijuana, and on the other hand we have those who want to criminalize a drug that simulates a marijuana experience.
HB-926 would allow for a victim of a crime who has previously been convicted of perjury to be allowed to testify when they are the victim of a crime. I’m not really sure if this is a problem in our state or a bill looking for a reason. HB-589would make the drug Mephedrone a Schedule 1 drug in Maryland. There was testimony regarding the increasing use of this drug on the streets. Generally, the committee does not like to assign a temporarily listed drug to the permanent Schedule list until the Federal government does so. HB-794 addresses a court procedural revision concerning verdicts or judgments. It will not allow a court to change a verdict without a full review conducted and recorded on the record in open court as opposed to being done in chambers. We received testimony of case verdicts altered by judges after a trial without any notice to the crime victims.
HB-1031 would create a Conditional Guilty Plea where a defendant would plead guilty to an agreed statement of facts yet preserve their right to appeal certain aspects of the case as opposed to forfeiting that right under a guilty plea. HB-1099 seeks to enhance the penalty for Assault on a Health Care Provider similar to those applied to police and corrections officers. This bill would make it a felony instead of a misdemeanor with the punishment remaining at a 10-year maximum. HB-543 seeks to create a Pre-trial Victim-Offender Mediation Program. This would constitute a diversion program designed to mediate problems as opposed to having a case move through the District Court system. It would require the Chief District Court Judge to set up parameters and establish criteria for such a program.
Tuesday Judiciary Committee Voting Session
The following bills were voted favorably by the committee:
HB-349, HB-396, HB-398, HB-500, HB-551, HB-631, HB-650, HB-852, HB-1160
The following bills were voted down by the committee:
HB-235, HB-237, HB-507, HB-517, HB-528, HB-535, HB-539, HB-587, HB-703,
HB-704, HB-971, HB-986, HB-1253
Wednesday Morning Voting Session
This link will take you to the Second Readers which moved on to Third Reader.
This link will take you to the Third Reader Bills.
Most of the bills moved with little or no opposition. HB-96 had some Republican opposition (about half of the Caucus), but I believe it is a good bill as amended which has been requested by the Drug Courts and judiciary. It allows for a 2nd Probation Before Judgment sentence for the successful completion of an extended probation Drug Court. This provision is already allowed for all other offenses and is only being extended to drug users and not sellers or distributors.
Judiciary Committee Hearings on Wednesday
HB-1238 would exempt any interest earned on a certain account from an account established for the Maryland Legal Services Fund from being transferred to the General Fund by the Comptroller’s Office. The fund has never been dealt with in this manner as all of the money earned on the account (only about $8,000.00) per year is utilized to supplement the fund for these indigent clients they serve. HB-772 addresses certain payments made to or from a trust account. It provides language in trust law which will allow for a trust to pay Income Tax (IRS) obligations and clears up some issues regarding marital trusts and payments made from these types of accounts. These revenue rulings are complicated, but many questions are asked by committee members and committee counsel is very helpful. HB-1061 calls for a Constitutional Amendment to address the removal or impeachment of a judge who fails to utilize strong legal skills or otherwise disregards case law in rendering rulings. It has been brought forward as a result of frustration with judicial creativity outside of the scope of prudence or accepted practice. It would place the decision of removal of judges with the Commission of Judicial Disabilities. Many have placed judges above the people to a place where they cannot be reviewed or touched. HB-735 would keep a murderer from inheriting the proceeds from an estate of the one they killed. This is addressed through Common Law in Maryland but there have been cases where killers have benefited from the estate of the one did the killing. HB-774 seeks to clarify certain aspects of the Power of Attorney Act. It makes some additions to the standardized forms used by the public. HB-773 would define “funeral expenses” under the estate code and broaden the definition to allow for those expenses to be covered by a small estate. HB-822 would provide concurrent jurisdiction to the Orphan’s Court with the Circuit Courts as it relates to addressing certain issues regarding minors. Either one of the courts could be utilized under these proposed changes but the Orphan’s Court is less expensive and easier to access for these issues. HB-1030 would create a Master Court for traffic cases held in jurisdictions that qualify based upon current case loads. This may be a way to limit the demand on our District Courts. It is opposed by the District Court. HB-682 this is the Maryland Trust Act which has been worked on over a number of years between bankers and attorneys to establish certain liability aspects over trust funds and those who have responsibility for administering them. Essentially, the bill represents a recodification of the current law and adopts many court rulings and findings into the Act. The current situation is a practice of dealing with some Statutory Law and much in the Common Law. Many states have more favorable trust laws and Maryland is competing at a disadvantage due to some of the provisions in our laws. It is a 90-page bill for those interested in wading through it.
Special Recognition was given to three Tuskegee Airmen who served this country in World War II. Two were fighter pilots and the other was a bomber pilot. All three briefly addressed the House and credited God and praying mothers for their safe return. It was a great moment to honor these great patriots who are all in their 90’s.
Judiciary Committee Voting Session, Wednesday
The committee voted favorably on SB-422 which is the senate version combining
HB-261 and HB-119. It was missing many parts of both House bills and was ultimately amended to include all of the language contained in HB-119 as well as two provisions contained in HB-261. The idea is to insure that HB-119receives a good hearing in the senate and a favorable vote.
Thursday Morning Voting Session
The following link provides information on Third Reader Bills.
Judiciary Committee Hearings on Thursday
HB-834 seeks to craft an “Alternative Response” within the law addressing the response of the Department of Social Services. Currently, the law requires an “investigation” and does not appear to permit any alternative, less intrusive response for very minor reports of potential neglect cases. Funding for DSS is truly an issue and I am wondering if the training and set up for this new diversion would create hardship on the agency. Secretary Theodore Dallas indicated that his staff is doing more with less and assured the committee they were up to the challenge. HB-604 has been called “Justice’s Law” after a victim of Child Abuse who was killed by a family member in western Maryland. This bill seeks to enhance the penalty under First Degree Child Abuse from the current 30 years maximum up to Life in Prison. There were some questions regarding eligibility for parole under Life and the 30-year current sentence guidelines. HB-798 seeks to require juvenile offenders who are being bound over to be tried as an adult to be allowed to be dealt with HB-708 would clarify the way to expunge a criminal charge for a juvenile who was charged as an adult. This seeks to correct a law passed in 2002 addressing expungments.
HB-1122 would require certain juvenile offenders who have been waived to adult court be incarcerated in a juvenile facility. Currently, once waived, a juvenile offender is treated as an adult and housed in adult facilities. HB-1138would require notification be made to a parent or guardian when a juvenile is arrested. This seems to be unnecessary as it is a common practice and is required by Juvenile Custody Rules. HB-1142 would require the judicial official at the Bail Review Hearing to assign a juvenile to either a juvenile correctional facility or a local jail. HB-978 would not allow a juvenile offender under the age of 14 from being incarcerated in a secure facility. This really goes too far with juveniles that have already showed a propensity for violence in our communities. HB-860 seeks to include certain crimes as being evidence of Sexual Abuse by definition, in particular, prostitution, as they relate to human trafficking. This expanded definition would allow for those engaged in this domestic trafficking of humans to be charged with these violations and for victims to receive access to services as opposed to being charged with crimes. HB-1256would require Child Sexual Abuse Training for public school teachers to help them understand and identify potential abuse victims. This bill asks for a Study Group to attempt to address how this can best be accomplished.
Friday Morning Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting
We heard from the Living Legacy Foundation representatives Karen Kennedy and Dr. Brian Childs on issues relating to organ and tissue donation. They mentioned how registration for organ donation can be done online electronically or through the Motor Vehicle Administration. Representatives from Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care, Pres. Alane Capen and Dir. Maureen McNeill gave us an overview of hospice work ongoing on the shore. They spoke of expanding services on the lower shore in north Worcester County. We were also visited by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy who provided insight into their ongoing work on the shore including many community design projects on the mid-shore region. Most of their work centers on land preservation easements on farm and forest lands. They would like to expand their design services to municipalities on the lower shore in the future.
Friday Morning Voting Session
The following link provides information on Third Reader Bills.
The most controversial bill battle of the day was the Second Reader of HB-366 which would require all new homes constructed to be equipped with Fire Sprinkler systems. Until this year, these types of changes were adopted at the county and municipal level of government where local input is the greatest. Conservatively, the cost of these systems for a residence on a municipal water supply ranges from $3000.00-$6000.00. If you are on a well system, the cost is double and, in some reported instances, triple the cost ($6000.00-$18,000.00). When this is added to the cost of a newly constructed home, it will take many buyers out of the market. Nothing would prohibit a home owner or builder from installing such a system, but it should be up to the one paying and not a decision of government, particularly at the state level. I offered two amendments which were defeated. One would have exempted 16-counties from the bill. In this case, 8-counties decided what the other 16 counties should do. A clear example of the tyranny at play in Annapolis. The second amendment would have exempted the requirement for any house not hooked up to a municipal water supply. Again, while the bill made good economic sense, rural Marylanders took it on the chin. Our Constitution says “the people” are the sovereign, but as the Floor Leader on the bill stated from the floor, they believe “the state” is the sovereign.
We will again attempt to battle this on Third Reader, but I’m afraid it will move to the Senate by Tuesday.
Judiciary Hearing Conducted Jointly with Health and Government Operations Committee
The hearing on medical marijuana was conducted with testimony resembling last years arguments. While many testified, the air had already been let out of the balloon by a morning announcement in the paper indicating that Gov. O’Malley would veto any such bill. At this time, it would seem to be going nowhere fast.
Coming up Next Week...
The House will have a better idea of what version of the budget is being passed over for consideration, including proposed tax and fee increases. HJ-12, a proposed House Resolution addressing certain provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (particularly the issue of American citizens being denied due process or a writ of habeas Corpus under certain circumstances) will be heard by the Rules Committee on Monday afternoon. Nine other states have adopted such a resolution and I hope Maryland will join the list of states standing up for our liberty. HB-1334 known as “Ava’s Law” will be heard in the Judiciary committee. This bill seeks to enhance the penalty for causing an injury while under the influence of drugs. HB-966 will also be heard this week. It seeks to conduct a Straw Poll as to public opinion on having an elected school board in Wicomico County.