From the office of Sen. J.B. Jennings:
A Difficult Week All Around
When it rains, it pours. That statement couldn’t be more true about this past week.
While special session was at the forefront, I want to provide an update on a very personal matter as well. Many of you know that my father Gary was severely injured last weekend. He suffered life-threatening injuries from a tree-trimming accident, and was flown to the shock trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He had very serious internal injuries, bleeding, and a fractured back. He has gone through four surgeries so far, and is not “out of the woods” yet.
It has been very difficult to see my father like this; but all of your thoughts and prayers have helped more than you can know. The outpouring of support has meant a lot to my family, and I know my father will be so touched to hear about all of it when he is able.
I would like to thank the incredible medical team at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. I could not be more impressed with the care my dad is receiving. This institution is a testament to the greatness of Maryland, and a reminder of how lucky we are to live somewhere with the very best doctors and such a generously supported hospital.
In between visiting hours at the hospital last week, I attended legislative session in Annapolis to take part in redistricting. Despite the excellent alternative maps that the Republican caucus introduced, as well as concerns from minority lawmakers, the Governor’s plan was passed. Rather, I should say it was dealt, bargained, and traded to passage. This was not an honorable or transparent process.
The Governor’s Commission on Redistricting held months of sham hearings to “take into account” residents’ concerns. Then, the commission drew up maps so late that the pressure was on- there was definitely a sense this week that the onus was on legislators to “get this done,” and that the maps’ passage was a foregone conclusion.
I deeply opposed the way in which this process unfolded. I plan to submit legislation to require that maps be drafted first- prior to the public hearings- so that constituents have something specific to comment upon. Rather than months of hearings about what residents would like theoretically want the maps to look like, the proposed maps need to be available for public comment and analysis for an extended period of time. Instead of allowing for a robust and thoughtful public discourse, the Governor did not release his map until a mere three days before the special session convened.
This process won’t take place again for another ten years. But when it does, I intend to make sure that it unfolds quite differently.
I will keep you up-to-date on this effort as well as the progress of my father. I look forward to keeping in touch and, as always, I am proud to represent you.
Senator J.B. Jennings