11th District delegates head to Annapolis

Kandice C. Wilson, Community Times

“I think it’s going to be a very challenging year,” Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-11th) said of the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session.

Across the board, many of the area’s representatives are expecting to make some tough decisions regarding social, environmental, and fiscal matters.

Environmentally, both Cardin and Del. Dana Stein (D-11th) look forward to proposing new legislation and moving previously sponsored bills forward.

Stein wants to implement an amendment that would increase the percentage of waste that has to be recycled.

As of Dec. 2011, according to a Maryland Department of the Environment study, the current voluntary recycling rate goal is 35 percent and should increase to 55 percent by the end of 2020.

Cardin stands behind Gov. Martin O’Malley’s wind energy bill which would utilize offshore wind energy in order to create a “more sustainable profile” for the state. Cardin said that he’s “very much in favor of trying to move that along.”

Del. Dan Morhaim (D-11th) wants to propose an upgrade to the state’s electronic recycling program, which was last amended in 2007.

“Everything needs further attention,” he said.

Implementing a hybrid school board of both elected and appointed members, a 15-cent increase to the gas tax, same-sex marriage, and pedestrian and biker safety will also all be addressed in the upcoming session.

The spectrum of economic matters ranges from financial literacy and a commission on student debt to transportation funding, and the lack of money with which to do it all.

‘What’s most significant is to meet as many of the public’s needs as possible,” Morhaim said. “We need to be strategic.”

But one of the most controversial topics on the 2012 agenda is legislative redistricting.

The new redistricting plans will move Pikesville into the 11th district and some parts of Reisterstown and Owings Mills will be moved into the 10th district with parts of Randallstown.

“I’m mainly looking forward to talking with constituents,” Morhaim said. “It’s always valuable.”

On personal notes, both the Cardin and Stein families have baby news.

Cardin and his wife Megan are expecting a baby this year, while Stein and his wife Margaret welcomed their son James Jonathan.

The 90-day Maryland General Assembly session is set to begin on Wednesday, Jan. 11, and run to April 9.