Between the constituent meetings, committee hearings, and legislative receptions keeping me busy during the day, things are gradually beginning to pick up during the 2011 Legislative Session in Annapolis. Not even a nasty snow storm could slow down the Maryland General Assembly this week. Tuesday was the last day for legislators to submit ideas for legislation to the bill drafters so that bills could be returned in time for the Bill Introduction deadline next week. Committee hearings are continually being scheduled for the introduced bills.
Marriage Equality: One of the bills that was introduced last week was HB-175/SB-116, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would allow the state of Maryland to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hearings will begin in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 8th. The leading sponsors of the bill, along with the bill’s co-sponsors and other pro-marriage equality organizations, held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the introduction of the bill. Currently, the Senate bill has co-sponsorship from 18 of the 47 Senators and the House bill has co-sponsorship from 58 of the 141 Delegates. Read the full language of HB-175 here.
Concealed Carry Gun Licenses: In the House Judiciary Committee this week, we discussed HB-9, which would give reciprocity to concealed carry gun licenses from surrounding states. The legislation would effectively honor 800,000 gun licenses issued by surrounding states, without having Maryland law enforcement officials review the backgrounds of any of the license holders. I have concerns that this legislation would transfer Maryland’s authority to regulate the possession of firearms to legislators in Harrisburg, Charleston, Dover, and Richmond. If you have any questions about the bill, or any other legislation, please feel free to call me (410-841-3303) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I’m also getting settled into the office, room 316 of the House Office Building, and am starting to decorate the office with items from the 46th district. One of the first pieces of artwork I have displayed is a photograph from Matthew Saindon, a photographer and artist from Highlandtown. You can see his work, “Holi No. 2- A Celebration of Color”, hanging in our office here. I’m proud to display Matt’s work and I will add other artwork and items from around the district in the weeks to come.
Again, my office is always open if you’d like to stop in, visit, and chat. Always feel free to call or email me with any concerns, ideas, or feedback.