Although most people believe that politicians are all the same, my experience has been that this assumption is far from the truth. I believe that many elected officials have different approaches to the way they represent the people. During my three terms in public office, I have always had one guiding principle that was based on the belief that the people elected me to do a job. They are the bosses and their interests are the only priority that I have. My legislative agenda reflects that commitment.
My crime victim legislation agenda included Jessica’s Law Part II – Truth in Sentencing. This bill was created to eliminate good time credits and early release for certain types of criminals. Two other public safety measures — the Witness Protection Act and a victim protection act — would also eliminate good time early release credits for any offender who intimidates or attempts to harm a witness in any way. These proposals would mandate capital punishment for a perpetrator who murders a witness. All three of these bills place public safety and crime victims first.
Another key piece of legislation to further the best interests of ordinary citizens is the Citizens’ Rights Act. This legislation would, for the first time, permit a citizen to file a complaint against any elected official, including the Governor, who disobeys the Federal Immigration Act and promotes the interest of illegal aliens. A second bill would ban the practice of politicians creating so-called “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens. Finally, in the same group of proposals designed to protect citizens’ rights against the burdens created by illegal aliens, I have legislation known as the Voter Verification Fairness Act which will protect the integrity of our voting system and prohibit illegal al iens from voting.
Once again, I have introduced legislation that will formally recognize English as Maryland’s official language. This concept continues to receive 70-plus percent support in every poll conducted in Maryland and across the nation. Despite rejection by a small number of misguided legislators on the House Health & Government Operations Committee, I believe it is important to continue to promote this popular proposal.
An area that I feel strongly about is the plight of our frail and elderly, particularly those in nursing homes. After the passage of my landmark legislation last year that required a complete review of nursing home services, I have followed up this year with a bill that will require new disclosure regarding the financial ownership of these facilities.
According to the Maryland State Constitution, members of the House of Delegates have an important responsibility regarding the oversight of the actions of Maryland’s judiciary. In Montgomery County, Judge Katherine Savage dismissed a defendant who had allegedly raped an 18-month old baby and a 7-year old girl. The Judge’s premise for the dismissal was the false belief that the defendant could not understand English and, as a result, the trial had been delayed past the legal time limit for a ‘speedy trial’. Recently, the Co urt of Appeals ruled that Judge Savage was wrong in her decision to dismiss the case. At the beginning of the session I filed legislation to impeach and remove Judge Savage from the bench. So far, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has refused to conduct a hearing on the matter which, I believe, violates the State Constitution. I will continue to press this issue, even after adjournment of the Maryland General Assembly. This is another effort on behalf of victims and, in this case, innocent children to protect them from judges that are not doing their duty to protect children.
An important part of the responsibilities expected of a good legislator is leadership on the floor of the House of Delegates. Lawmakers, for the first time, receive the opportunity to view legislation and debate its merits after it leaves committee and arrives on the floor of the full House. I believe that it is important for a legislator to assume an active, bold leadership role on the floor addressing the hundreds of bills that come before the body. Thus far, I have defeated one bill, a truly rare accomplishment and wounded a number of other bad pieces of legislation.
During the deliberations on the budget, I introduced three amendments. One amendment removed the 60% pay increase for Public Service Commission members. A second amendment attempted to remove $1 million designated to support CASA of Maryland, a pro-illegal alien lobbying organization. A third amendment would have eliminated Harford County from the speed camera legislation. Although none of the three amendments passed, they generated intense debate and produced information exposing the budget defects for the public and the media to consider.
An important Harford County proposal that has my full support is the elected-blended school board and a measure that provides a new funding mechanism for veterans’ organization in the County.
Finally, in addition to my legislative efforts, community actions, and hard work on the floor of the House, I have provided a user-friendly, fully available system for my constituents to communicate with me. I may be reached at 410-238-0025, my home office; at 410-841-3334, my Annapolis office; or at PatMcDee@comcast.net. If you prefer the mail service, I am at PO Box 24640, Baltimore, MD 21214. More information is available at www.PatMcDonough.org, by watching Inside Annapolis on Harford County Community College television which I co-host, or the Pat McDonough Radio Show on Saturday evenings from 8 to 10 PM on WCBM 680. Also, I am the guest commentator on Fox 45 morning news every Tuesday at 7:50 AM discussing legislative matters.
For those of you that live near or in Harford County, I will be hosting a legislative forum with my staff in Harford County on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 6 PM at the Abingdon Public Library. The public is welcome to attend, as I continue to Put People First.