From the office of Del. Kathy Szeliga:
On Friday, February 25, the 2011 General Assembly passed the halfway point in its 90-day session. Adjournment sine die is April 11 at midnight. At the halfway point, 2,234 bills and 16 resolutions are in the legislative pipeline. There are 937 Senate bills and 6 Senate resolutions, along with 1,297 House bills and 10 House resolutions.
Gay Marriage Update
Of the many issues before the Maryland General Assembly, the one I am getting the most emails, phone calls, and snail mail about is the gay marriage issue.
SB 116 –
Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, will redefine marriage in Maryland. It is a short bill that says: “Only a marriage between [a man and a woman] TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE NOT OTHERWISE PROHIBITED FROM MARRYING is valid in this State.” The bracketed language will be deleted from current law and the all caps bolded wording is the new language. You can read the bill for yourself here:
This bill passed out of the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 25-21. You can also find the voting list at the link above. SB 116 is now in the House of Delegates. The House version of this bill was heard today, Friday. There were many many people in Annapolis today on both sides of the issue.
I expect the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee to pass a bill, most likely SB 116, in the next couple of weeks. Once the gay marriage bill gets out of committee and on to the floor of the House of Delegates, I will have an opportunity to vote on the bill and issue.
I will support marriage between one man and one woman ONLY. I will not support changing that definition as I believe that marriage is a sacred institution established by God. There are many peripheral issues surrounding this issue and emotions run high on both sides. My position is in no way meant to demean or diminish any of our homosexual friends and family members. However, I am convinced that marriage should be reserved and preserved for one man and one woman.
Annapolis Visitors This Week
In response to what is going on in Wisconsin, there were a couple of protests/rallies in Lawyers Mall this week. Lawyers Mall is an open area in front of the State House where we often have pickets, rallies, and protests.
This is a great poster. I thought you would enjoy it! I’m not sure who the man is, but he and some other people were protesting the union’s protest! FUN! FUN!
Baltimore County is considering revising their licensing fees. These licensing fees have not been looked at in many years – some have not been raised since 1916! This is a great opportunity to consider eliminating some licenses – like the $10 per pool table license. It will also be appropriate to make sure that the license fee covers the cost of issuing and maintaining licenses and that it is not costing taxpayers to do that. Fees should cover the services they incur and licenses should protect consumers and taxpayers. I’m looking forward to working with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, his staff, and the Baltimore County Delegation on this issue.
You can find more information on this in the Baltimore Business Journal as well as a quote from me!
Baltimore Business Journal
Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. I am humbled and honored to be representing you and your family in Annapolis.
Maryland House of Delegates