From the office of Del. Pat McDonough:
The 2010 session of the Maryland General Assembly has been moving at a snail’s pace. Taxpayers and others may jump for joy and shout, “Thank God!” However, the 800 pound gorilla that is still standing is the budget. The budget process is moving slowly because the Governor has proposed what is actually an election year campaign budget. It is filled with tricks and gimmicks designed to balance the numbers and survive an election year. Most of the balancing acts are achieved through one-time transfers and extends a hand to Washington, hopefully, contemplating more federal money from Santa Claus Obama. Should the President fail to find anymore of our grandchildren’s money, the Maryland budget without the federal taxpayers’ subsidy could be in serious trouble.
The Governor has failed to initiate any honest structural cuts. In the next 5 years, because of the chief executive’s reckless actions, an $11B deficit is guaranteed. For example, the spend- and tax-aholics in Annapolis do not appear to be overly concerned about this dangerous situation. I think I know why. They feel assured that, once the election is over and their positions are secured, they will enact a massive “ambush tax” in 2011. In my heart, I know this is their plot. I will vote against the budget as a symbolic gesture of my protest against their reckless and dishonest fiscal mismanagement.
For the third consecutive year, I have introduced Jessica’s Law Part II – Truth in Sentencing (House Bill 864) which will eliminate early release for sexual offenders because of good-time credits. The Governor and leaders of the General Assembly claim to be serious about passing stronger laws to protect our children against sexual predators, especially since the tragic death of Sarah Foxwell. I shall be pleasantly surprised if they stick to their word and produce results.
This year, the Harford County Delegation made history by becoming the first group of legislators to pass a bill (House Bill 1020) mandating English as the official legal language of government. All 8 legislators co-sponsored the bill and supported its passage. The Harford County English bill will mandate that all government actions executed by the County government, including reports, legal documents, pamphlets, programs, and policies, must be produced in English. The bill faces a tough hurdle when it comes before the House Health and Government Operations Committee which must provide final approval.
Another piece of legislation, which I believe deserves serious consideration, is the “Fallen Heroes Memorials” (House Bill 1392). There are 2,500 bridges and overpasses in Maryland owned by the State. Seventy of these structures have been designated to honor a Maryland citizen. Amazingly, there is a State rule that prohibits fallen heroes, such as military personnel, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and first responders, from being honored and memorialized with a designation plaque. There are about 70 fallen heroes who fall into this category. Many states have fallen hero memorial programs. Hopefully, this bill will pass. If not, it will return again next year.
There are more than 200,000 illegal immigrants in Maryland costing taxpayers almost $2B annually. Most importantly, there is a growing number of dangerous illegal alien gangs such as MS13 and the Latin Kings. In Harford County, we are familiar with the deadly problems that gangs can cause. The illegal gangs and their criminal cohorts are engaged in violence and drug activities. The 287 Law Enforcement Act (House Bill 866) will permit the Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies to contract with the federal immigration agency and Homeland Security in order to crack down on violent criminals. More than 90 subdivisions across America utilize this law enforcement tool including Frederick County in Maryland. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County has praised the program and supports this bill.
Information on legislation, scholarships, and constituent services may be obtained by contacting my office in Annapolis at 410-841-3334 or e-mail at Pat.McDonough@house.state.md.us. Please watch the television program Inside Annapolis broadcast weekly on the Harford County Community College cable TV system through the end of session.