Annapolis Update–1/13/12

Friends,
As this year’s legislative session gets underway I want to reach out and reiterate what a pleasure it is to be serving you in Annapolis. There are some vital issues on the table and I look forward to working hard on them on your behalf. Here is a quick overview of some top priorities:

  • First, some good news. Yesterday it was announced that Maryland’s schools were ranked first in the nation for the fourth straight year. This is a testament to the quality of our teachers, hard work of our students, and passion of our parents. To keep our public education system on this successful path, Governor O’Malley proposed increasing school construction funds. I feel strongly about improving our public education infrastructure and creating jobs in the process, and would love to hear from constituents on this proposal.
  • Once again, many of us will be fighting to extend equal marriage rights to all of Maryland’s citizens. As I clearly stated in the past, I firmly believe the right to marry is a right that must be afforded to everyone if we wish to live by the principle that, in America, all are equal under the law. I have heard from numerous constituents who have expressed frustration over the legislature’s failure to get this done last year, a frustration I share. To that end, I recently saw footage of a Vietnam veteran and a Republican presidential candidate discussing this matter. The veteran was venting about not being able to visit his loved one in the hospital, and discussing the injustice of this freedom being denied to a person who risked his life for it. This shouldn’t happen in America. This shouldn’t happen anywhere. And hopefully, after this session, it won’t be happening in Maryland.
  • Another paramount legislative matter will be looking for ways to invest in Maryland’s future while creating jobs in the present. Whether it be through school construction or allocating more for infrastructure development, we need to look for sound investments that will reinforce Maryland’s standing as a state with a sound economic foundation while decreasing unemployment. The recent jobs reports have been encouraging, but we still have a lot of work to do.
  • Another matter I will spending a lot of time on is a process of natural gas extraction called hydraulic fracturing. This practice (also known as “fracking”) is the source of numerous serious water pollution incidents across the country, and is under consideration for use in Western Maryland. Recently, there have also been reports of earthquakes linked to this drilling method. The burden is on the industry to prove that this can be done safely, and since they have yet do so, my concerns remain about the implications for Maryland’s citizens of this practice being used in their backyard. As a member of the Environmental Matters Committee, and the House of Delegates representative on the Chesapeake Bay Trust, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to work on this issue and will be doing so this session.

Lastly, I will continue to keep you updated throughout the session and will have more on my legislative priorities next week. Please continue to contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns you may have. We love hearing from you; building relationships with constituents is one of the best parts of this job.

Best,
Shane