The Session

The 426th Session of the Maryland General Assembly convened today and as Gideon Tucker quipped, “no man’s life, liberty or property, are safe when the legislature is in session.”

Obviously the $2 billion dollar budget deficit will be the 400 lbs. gorilla in every committee room. Wait, the Baltimore Sun told me two years ago that Martin O’Malley slew the deficit. Oh well.

With tax increases very unpopular, after the 2007 special session and Democrats having painted themselves into a corner, the big question is which Democratic constituency gets screwed. I’m betting on labor. O’Malley already instituted furloughs, now layoffs are on the table. The writing appears to be on the wall. Environmentalists appear to be getting what they want.

Of course, O’Malley is hoping for Obama and a heap of federal largess to fix the mess he made.

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Man Perm can crow about coming together and burying Republicans, but practical realities are going to cause fissures between Democrats. Furthermore, if you listen to the rhetoric closely, its all about power, nothing more. Mike Miller stopped caring about issues and taxpayers a long time ago, if ever at all.

Also, watch for legislation altering the distribution of slot revenue and setting the rules for early voting .

As of now there are only 146 bills filed, but more are sure to come as the governor must submit his budget next week. Here is a sample, in no particular order, of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the odd.

SB 73 Requested by Department of Agriculture
The Nelson Reichart bill: making sure those secret shady land deals stay secret.

SB 32 Sponsors, Astle and DeGrange
Scrap metal regulations. Where’s Nat Exum?

SB 4 Sponsor, David Harrington
More burdensome regulation, which requires an environmental justice review for permits in “stressed” areas.

SB 27 Sponsors, Greenip, Haines, Harris, Munson, Pipkin, Kittleman, Colburn, Glassman, and Edwards
Securing the integrity of our state driver’s licenses.

SB40 Sponsor, David Harrington
The snack tax.

SB 43 Sponsors Harris, Greenip, Colburn, and Kittleman
Protecting the integrity of our elections by making sure those early voters only vote once.

SB 14 Sponsor John Astle
Vastly expands the powers and scope of the Maryland Environmental Service. It’s a 24 page bill and I’ve only skimmed it. However the words eminent domain appear.

SB 20 Sponsor Nancy Jacobs
$500 fine or 60 days in jail for selling a US or state flag not manufactured in the United States? I’m as patriotic as the next guy and think highly of Nancy Jacobs but this is overkill.

SB 45 Sponsors, Greenip, Harris, Pipkin, and Colburn
Rewarding parents who save for their children’s college tuition.

SB 46 Sponsor Joan Carter Conway
Why do milk crates need to be regulated?

Dear Lord, I haven’t even gotten to the House bills yet!
Good night.

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