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

Maryland Steps up for Peace in the Congo

I am excited to be sponsoring legislation this session to help bring peace to eastern Congo by addressing the link between our electronic products and the ongoing violence. I will be introducing the legislation to encourage companies to source minerals from mines in the region that benefit rather than destroy communities. Please join us to learn more about how you can support this effort and make Maryland the second state in the country to pass conflict-free legislation.
Best,
Delegate Shane Robinson

JANUARY 18th 6:30-8:30

Location:

Growlers
227 East Diamond Ave Gaithersburg, MD
United States

RSVP Here

See map: Google Maps

 

Shane’s Cookout and Disc Golf Tournament – 9/10/11 2-6pm

Join me for a cookout and disc golf tournament on Saturday, September 10, from 2-6pm at Seneca Creek State Park. It’s going to be a fun event with activities for all ages, so bring the whole family!  Click here for a downloadable flyer

Disc Golf Tournament 2-4pm
The disc golf tournament will be held at Seneca Creek’s scenic 27-hole disc golf course from 2-4pm. The tournament itself will only cover holes 1-9 (the Orange Loop), and participants will be divided into categories based upon age and experience. Also during the tournament, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the park, the course, and invasive plant species by taking part in Park Quest 2011. Everything you need to participate in Park Quest will be available at the tournament. Park Quest information and worksheets can be downloaded here. If you don’t have a disc we will have them available for you to borrow or purchase. See you at the tournament!

Cookout 4-6pm
After the disc golf tournament there will be a cookout and awards ceremony at the Pheasant Run Picnic Area. The special guest will be Delegate Maggie McIntosh, the Chairman of the House Environmental Matters Committee. You don’t have to participate in the tournament to attend the cookout, so if disc golf isn’t your thing please come to the cookout anyway!

Registration
Please RSVP by email to delegaterobinson@gmail.com, or by phone to 240-429-2330.

Price of tickets (includes park admission, cookout, and entry into tournament):

  • Jack Nicklaus Level – $1000
  • Tiger Woods Level – $500
  • Rory McIlroy Level – $250
  • Foursome (four entries into tournament) $100
  • Individual – $25

Please make checks payable to Friends of Shane Robinson, 9623 Shadow Oak Drive, Montgomery Village MD 20886.

Directions to Seneca Creek State Park
From Washington, D.C, Virginia and points south: take I-270 north towards Frederick, Maryland. Take Exit 10, Clopper Road (Route 117). Turn right at the light at the bottom of the ramp. The park is approximately 2 miles on the left.

From points north: take I-270 south towards Washington, D.C., take Exit 11 (MD Route 124 west). Turn right at the light at the bottom of the ramp. At the second light, turn right onto Clopper Road (Route 117). The park is approximately 1.5 miles on the left.

Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Pheasant Run Picnic Area

Map of Seneca Creek State Park

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District 39 Legislative Wrap-Up Meeting: Sunday, May 22

The District 39 Legislative Team

 

Come discuss the recently concluded legislative session at the District 39 Legislative Wrap-Up Meeting to be held on May 22nd from 3:00-4:30pm at the Stedwick Community Center located at 10401 Stedwick Road, Montgomery Village, MD 20886. I will be there along with Senator Nancy King and Delegates Charles Barkley and Kirill Reznik. This is a free event and is open to all District 39 residents.

A lot happened this session. We’d love to discuss it with you and get your feedback as we make plans for next session. We hope to see you there!
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Maryland DREAM Act and PEPCO Bill Signed into Law

This week, Governor Martin O’Malley signed the DREAM Act and the Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act–commonly referred to as the PEPCO Bill–into law. I was a proud co-sponsor of both of these bills, and am thrilled that they are now law.

  • The Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act requires the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to set strict reliability standards for electric companies doing business in Maryland.  Penalties will be imposed on companies that do not meet these standards, and under this law penalties may not be passed onto the consumers. Residents of Montgomery County have suffered greatly during numerous power outages in recent history, and this bill begins the process of holding PEPCO accountable.
  • The DREAM Act allows undocumented students that have been attending Maryland public high schools to attend community college at in-state tuition rates. For students to qualify for the DREAM Act they, or their parents, must prove that they’ve been paying Maryland taxes for three years. After two years in community college, qualifying students may continue their education at one of Maryland’s universities if accepted. This bill is a good step towards ensuring that more of our children receive as much education as possible. We know education leads to safer, healthier, more prosperous communities, and this bill helps solidify that foundation.
  • Governor O’Malley also signed one of the three bills I passed this session. HB-881 sets up a regulatory framework for the bio-diesel/waste kitchen grease industry. If we are to successfully urge consumers to seek out greener energy sources, we need to address the issues that arise as a result. This bill targets the issue of waste kitchen grease theft from restaurants.

In the next few weeks I plan on announcing an the date for my first post-session event. I plan on making this an annual opportunity to meet with constituents, and hear directly from them about their concerns. Please look out for this announcement, and I hope to see you there.
Best,Shane

Statement on the Killing of Osama bin Laden

The death of Osama bin Laden is a milestone in the worldwide fight against terrorism. We owe a great deal to President Obama, and the servicemen and women who made this moment possible.

Bin Laden’s death ensures that his attacks against us are over, but al-Qaeda, and organizations like it, will continue their campaigns of terror and violent extremism. In the long run, if we want to successfully defeat terrorism we will need to increase our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts around the globe, while decreasing direct military intervention.

Additionally, I echo Governor O’Malley’s sentiment that this should be a day of reflection and prayer for a more peaceful future.

Annapolis Update 4/12/11

The flag in the State House dome

Dear Friend,

 

I write you from Annapolis, following the close of my first legislative session, proud of the work the state legislature has accomplished this year. We passed a balanced budget in a fiscally depressed climate that maintains essential public services; increased revenue in order to allocate more funds to education and programs that assist the developmentally disabled; instituted in-state tuition rates for the children of tax-paying immigrants; targeted funds to encourage innovative companies to bring their business and jobs to Maryland under Governor O’Malley’s Invest Maryland initiative; eased the burden on seriously ill patients who need medicinal marijuana to ease their pain; and continued to work on cleaning up one of Maryland’s greatest assets and treasures—the Chesapeake Bay. Indeed, it has been a productive session.

Also, I feel particularly fortunate to have personally passed three bills:

  • HB-329 (cross-filed by Senator Nancy King) exempts senior centers from the public information act. Prior to this bill, predatory marketers could force senior centers to hand over the private information of their members. Thanks to HB-329 that is no longer the case in Maryland.
  • HB-881 sets up a regulatory framework for the bio-diesel/waste kitchen grease industry. If we are to successfully urge consumers to seek out greener energy sources, we need to address the issues that arise as a result. This bill targets the issue of waste kitchen grease theft from restaurants.
  • HB-831, which was signed into law this morning, was initially conceived of by eight-year-old Jacob Robinson (no relation to me). It sets up a system through the Department of Natural Resources to curb the spread of invasive plants species. Invasive plants harm the environment and the economy; this bill will help get them under control.

I was also encouraged that the electricity service reliability bill passed. This vital piece of legislation creates significant penalties if PEPCO fails to meet reliability standards. Montgomery County residents deserve decent utility service, and PEPCO’s record of service is far from decent. Hopefully, this will start to change that.

As proud as I am of the bills I’ve worked on personally and collectively, I’m equally disappointed with the failure to pass marriage equality. For me, this is a matter of what kind of country we want to be. Do we want to be a country that tells some citizens they are not worthy of the right to build a family through a strong marriage, simply because the person they love is of the same sex? Do we want to be a country that sends a message to gay and lesbian children across America that they are, as my friend Delegate Luke Clippinger put it, “less than human”? Or do we want to recognize that one of our country’s biggest assets has always been its diversity? Do we want to live up to the expectations of those who delegated us to uphold the constitution?

In spite of this setback, I remain confident that marriage equality’s day will come in Maryland. You can only stand in the way of progress for so long before the tides of virtue wash away prejudice. We have seen this throughout America’s history, and, with your help, we will see it once more when marriage equality is signed into law.

In closing, I must add, that as I look at the political developments across the country—both local and federal—I can’t help but remain especially honored to be a Maryland delegate. For, in Maryland, we know collective bargaining rights are a necessity not a burden; we work to strengthen women’s health services not tear them down; we understand that diversity is an asset not a threat; and we have the foresight to invest in our future through our children’s education. It means something to be a Marylander. And it means an incredible amount to represent you in Annapolis.

Sincerely,

Shane Robinson

P.S. – On the local front, three bond bill projects were approved for District 39: $20,000 for Battleridge Place Stream Valley Restoration; $30,000 for Glenbrooke Stormwater Management Renovation; and $30,000 for Lewisberry Corridor Lighting Improvement. Also, the water park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg got $225,000 for upgrades.

P.P.S. – Please continue to contact me in the interim with any ideas, concerns, or issues you may have: Shane.Robinson@md.house.state.us; (301)-337-7284.

 

 

Annapolis Update 4/1/11

This week in Annapolis:

  • The Montgomery County Gazette featured me in a piece you can check out here.
  • The PEPCO reliability bill was amended in the Senate to allow for the possibility of stronger and more immediate penalties if PEPCO fails to meet reliability standards. Now, the amended bill will head back to the House. The new bill looks promising, as Senator Frosh said: “All they have to do is give us decent electrical service.” Montgomery County residents deserve better than PEPCO has been able to provide over the past few years, it is time for something to change.
  • Also in the Senate, the alcohol tax passed by a 27-19 margin. Once fully adopted, the measure is expected to raise $85 million at a time when funding for essential public services is difficult to find. I’m hopeful this bill will pass the House as well.The Direct Wine Shipping bill has now passed both the House and Senate, and once Governor O’Malley signs the legislation, Maryland will join three-dozen other states that allow wineries to ship directly to consumers. Now, Maryland residents can have their favorite wines sent directly to their homes. This is a common sense bill, and I’m happy to have supported it.
  • Unfortunately, it appears as though a bill to prevent discrimination of transgendered individuals has stalled in the Senate after passing the House. The bill is being unfairly subjected to frustration over marriage equality making it through the Senate but not the House. I was a proud supporter of the legislation, and as my colleague Senator Raskin said: “We shouldn’t express our disappointment in the failure of one major civil rights bill by killing another one.”

With only one full week left in this year’s legislative session I want to thank all those who contacted me over the past few months. It has been a pleasure listening to you weigh in on the issues, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Sincerely,
Shane

Annapolis Update 3/25/11

Guest introductions on the floor

This week in Annapolis:

After a few days of debate, the House passed the budget–97-42– with only one Republican voting in favor. This budget is balanced; fully funds the Thornton education program; protects the future solvency of pensions; and doesn’t raise taxes.

I am proud of the work the House did on this year’s budget; I also feel that, going forward, we should continue to look for creative ways to increase revenue if we are to maintain the country’s highest ranked public education system, improve our infrastructure, put Marylanders back to work, and maintain essential public services.

In other news, I’m proud to report that my bill to protect the private information of senior center members — a bill that was cross-filed by Senator Nancy King — has now passed both the Senate and House. Now, it’s on to the Governor’s desk. Government should be doing what it can to protect vulnerable citizens, and this bill does exactly that. Additionally, working my first bill through the process was a great learning experience.

Further, as we finish up the last few weeks of this year’s legislative session, I’m hopeful that I will have more good news on my other bills–curbing the spread of invasive species, and instituting a regulatory program for bio-diesel. The former unanimously passed the House and is now in the Senate, and the latter made it out of committee and is on the floor in both chambers.

I look forward to continuing to hear from you as the session winds down.

Best,
Shane

Annapolis Update 3/18/11

Jacob Robinson giving testimony before the Environmental Matters Committee

The latest from Annapolis:

I’m happy to report that my bill designed to curb the spread of invasive plant species was voted out of committee. As I mentioned last week, House Bill 831 is a particularly exciting piece of legislation for me, because it was initially conceived of by 8-year-old Jacob Robinson. I’m hopeful the House will pass this bill sometime next week, and then the Senate will follow suit.

Also in committee, we voted to adopt a favorable report on the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act. I’m a strong supporter of this bill, requiring further study of the hydraulic fracturing process of natural gas extraction. Other states have had serious issues as a result of gas companies using this process. The New York Times published an informative piece on the issue that you can find here.

Over in the Senate, the DREAM Act— a bill extending in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants, was passed by a vote of 27-20. I support this important piece of legislation, and hope to see it passed in the House.

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

Best,
Shane

By Authority: Friends of Shane Robinson; Mary Robinson, Treasurer.