Yesterday, Thursday, February 7, was the last day to introduce bills. You can find all of the legislation that I’ve sponsored or co-sponsored here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?stab=02&pid=sponpage&id=clippinger&tab=subject6&ys=2013RS. I am sponsoring quite a few bills, but I wanted to highlight a few of my legislative priorities for you this week:
As you may have heard, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on the Governor’s Firearms Safety Act on Wednesday, February 6. I believe that the Governor’s proposal will save lives by utilizing common sense and reasonable regulations of guns and potential gun owners. However, there is no panacea to prevent gun violence, and I have worked with my staff, colleagues, and experts to develop legislation that will compliment the Governor’s proposal, and, hopefully, decrease gun violence throughout our city and state.
This week, I introduced a bill that will mandate the reporting of lost or stolen guns in order to prevent straw purchases and to encourage responsible behavior by those who own guns. As I mentioned last week, this bill is the result of extensive discussions with law enforcement, especially the BPD, and gun policy experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. It will prevent the illegal transfer of firearms to criminals by creating a state-wide reporting requirement for lost or stolen firearms.
The bill will require licensed gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours of the time that they knew that the firearm was missing. I would like to thank 62 of my colleagues in the House who have signed on as co-sponsors of this important legislation, and I look forward to their support, and yours, as the bill moves through the legislative process. You can find the bill, HB1077, here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=hb1077&stab=01&ys=2013RS.
I also introduced a bill this week that will make criminals who use guns to commit a crime ineligible for “good time” credits on their prison sentence. In Baltimore City, nearly half of the suspects arrested for murder last year had previously been arrested for a gun crime. This “no good time for gun crime” bill will keep violent criminals off of the street by ensuring that they serve the full sentence for gun crimes. You can find the bill, HB 1057, here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=hb1057&stab=01&ys=2013RS
Community Renewable Energy:
Last year, I worked with my colleague, Del. Dana Stein of Baltimore County (Dist. 11), to introduce a bill that would allow groups of people to benefit from renewable energy generation. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass last year, but Del. Stein and I have worked with utilities and the Public Service Commission to craft similar legislation, this time creating a pilot program for community renewable energy generation. This bill will have an impact on the 46th District, and other parts of our state where people live in multi-unit buildings and where many folks rent their homes.
Under current law, only individual homes can receive the offset benefits of renewable generation, like solar power. For many city residents who live in apartment buildings or row houses, there is not sufficient space to generate the solar power to make the panels cost-efficient. For folks who rent their homes, there often is not an incentive to invest in renewable energy equipment. That means that our state isn’t generating as much renewable energy as it could, and that many Marylanders are not able to take advantage of reductions to their energy bills because of where they live.
This bill will allow groups of renters and/or homeowners to develop, install and utilize renewable energy and receive a pro-rated credit for their share of the energy that's created. For example, a group of neighbors could decide to form a "solar co-op." The solar co-op would construct solar panels where there was space and sufficient sunlight - a roof of a business, warehouse, or a school. Then, the cost of the panels would be spread out to the members of the co-op who would, in turn, receive credits on their bill for their share of the energy that is produced. This program could also lead to new developments including renewable energy generation from the beginning, and allowing tenants to benefit from lower bills. You can find the bill, HB 1128, here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=hb1128&stab=01&ys=2013RS. And, if you or your neighborhood association would be interested in creating a solar co-op, email me at Luke.Clippinger@house.state.md.us.
Finally, I am pleased to report that I am sponsoring a bond bill to provide $500,000 of state funding to support the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's Downtown Theatre. These funds would go to support the planning, design, and renovation of the CSC’s new facility, in the landmark 1885 Mercantile Trust and Deposit Company building located at 200 East Redwood Street. You can find more info about the project at the CSC’s website - http://chesapeakeshakespeare.com/building.html - and more info about the bill, HB 982, here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=01&id=hb0982&tab=subject3&ys=2013RS . This bond bill is one of several I’ve introduced this year – I’ll feature others in the weeks to come.
Knocking on your door soon! I'll be knocking on doors in Locust Point and South Baltimore this weekend - email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to join me.
You can now find all of my updates from this session on my website, at www.luke46.org/2013-legislative-session.html. Please spread the word, and let your friends and neighbors know that they can keep up to date on my work in Annapolis by visiting www.luke46.org and signing up for my updates today!
I appreciate your continued interest in my work in the General Assembly, and I am thankful for your continued support. Please contact me about any of the issues you care about, or if you want to help me pass any of the bills I’ve introduced this year. As always, you can reach me at 410-841-3303, or at Luke.Clippinger@house.state.md.us.