Annapolis Report - Session Week 5

In my last Report I cautioned that my wife could give birth any day. Now, in week 5 of the legislative session, I am extremely proud to announce the birth of Dorothy Maya Cardin, 4.9 lbs and 18.5 inches. She’s an early surprise, but she and my wife are both healthy and happy. I couldn’t be more proud or excited. I also feel a deeper, more meaningful perspective on the work I do as a legislator, improving our state for future generations, including my own daughter. Thank you to those who shared their support and congratulations. I encourage you to visit my website, www.joncardin.com, for further information and, eventually, pictures of my family.

My staff has done a great job handling the office since Wednesday morning’s exciting turn of events. They monitored the very first bill that passed the House, our Orphans’ Court bill, HB4, and represented me at a Wednesday bill hearing. It was during one of my favorite annual events, the Baltimore Jewish Council Advocacy Day Legislative Reception, that I received the call from my wife and rushed home. The next morning, my legislative director testified in my place before the Ways and Means Committee. She did an excellent job explaining two important election law bills to the Committee with only a few hours to prepare her statements.

The first bill, HB 225, would authorize voting in special elections to be conducted entirely by mail, increasing turnout and drastically reducing the costs associated with these disproportionately expensive elections. Instead of training and paying poll workers and maintaining polling locations, absentee ballots would be automatically sent to eligible registered voters (rather than being sent to only those who request them). Many other states have already implemented this approach on a broader scale. My hope is that authorizing all-mail voting in special elections, where turnout is traditionally very low and the cost per vote is very high, will demonstrate great cost-savings and encourage better participation in this important event. For further information, I encourage you to view my op-ed on the subject which was recently published in the Baltimore Sun.

The second bill, HB 226, would authorize United States citizens who have lived overseas their entire lives to vote in Maryland based upon a parent’s ability to do so as their most recent place of residence in the U.S. Voting is a core right of utmost importance for all U.S. citizens; however, career overseas military personnel often find their children living abroad disenfranchised. This legislation is a DOD priority, the right thing to do for our Maryland citizens, and there are no additional costs associated with assuring the voting rights of these U.S. citizens abroad. This legislation passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

As the legislative session kicks into high gear with more bill hearings and negotiations on looming budget proposals, please stay tuned for further developments. Thank you to the many members of the BJC who came to Annapolis on Tuesday to discuss numerous pressing issues impacting our state and the Jewish community in particular. I enjoyed our discussions and appreciate how knowledgeable and involved you are on the issues of importance to you. (I’m sorry I couldn’t have stayed longer at the reception, although a new baby is the best reason to have to leave early!) Finally, thank you to those of you who shared your thoughts on last week’s internal poll on the Community Cleanup Act, and other matters of importance.