Annapolis Update 3/14/11

Jacob and Dennis Robinson outside of the Environmental Matters Committee room

The latest from Annapolis:

I’m happy to report that my first bill–HB 329–passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 140-0. Senator Nancy King has sponsored the Senate version and we’re hopeful it will pass through there as well, and eventually be signed into law.

House Bill 329 would protect the privacy of senior citizens enrolled in senior centers. Currently, under the Public Information Act, anyone can enter a senior center and require them to divulge the private information of their members. HB-329 would exempt senior centers from PIA, protecting some of our most vulnerable individuals from being preyed on by unscrupulous individuals.

In other news, I also presented two other bills to the Environmental Matters Committee last week:

 

  • House Bill 881 addresses kitchen grease theft, which has become an issue due to the rise in popularity of bio-fuel. If we are to effectively encourage a transition to cleaner fuels, we need to deal with the problems that arise as a result.
  • I also was happy to introduce House Bill 831, a bill designed to curb the spread of invasive plant species in Maryland. HB-881 was particularly exciting for me, because it was initially conceived of by 8-year-old Jacob Robinson. Through his experience as a young environmentalist, Jacob became aware of how easy it is to mistakenly purchase invasive species. As a result, he thought of a plan to provide consumers with more information. With the help of his parents, and a number of stakeholders, his idea resulted in a bill that requires clear labeling of invasive plant species at retail stores. Jacob even came down to Annapolis to testify; he did a tremendous job presenting the bill and demonstrating the strength of our democratic process.

Also, in Environmental Matters last week, it was an honor to hear the testimony of Governor O’Malley on the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2011. This measure would go a long way towards reducing the release of nitrogen from septic systems into our waterways. Most likely, this will be studied further over the summer so all stakeholders can come together and figure out how best to move forward.

As always, please continue to contact my office with any questions, ideas, or concerns you may have.

Best,
Shane

Annapolis Update 2/18/11

It was an eventful week in Annapolis:

  • On Wednesday, I presented HB-329–a bill exempting senior centers from the Public Information Act–to the Health and Government Operations Committee.  As it stands now, anyone can walk into a senior center and request the personal information of the members under the Public Information Act. I am an ardent supporter of increased transparency in government, but the PIA was not designed to make citizens’ personal information available to unscrupulous individuals.  It’s time to close this loophole and protect the privacy of senior citizens.
  • Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece for Patch.com on marriage equality. Hopefully, this will be the year we pass legislation extending equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.
  • I continue to hear from Montgomery County constituents who are rightfully concerned about K-12 funding in this year’s budget. It’s true, under the Thornton formula funding should have increased by $94 million. However, with the increase in student population and decrease in county wealth, Montgomery County will still receive an additional $33 million in K-12 funding. I’m not 100 percent pleased with this outcome, but with your support, I will continue to fight for teacher pensions and education funding.
By Authority: Friends of Shane Robinson; Mary Robinson, Treasurer.