Annapolis Report - Week 2

ANNAPOLIS REPORT

JANUARY 16, 2013 – WEEK TWO

The first week of Session has been a whirlwind of excitement from issue briefings and bill hearings to meeting with numerous constituents and interest groups. So far, I have had the pleasure of meeting with the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, the League of Conservation Voters, the Arc of Maryland and many other causes near and dear to my heart. Meanwhile, individual constituents continue to stop by my office everyday to check in and keep me up to date on both the ups and the downs of their favorite causes. I hope that you make it to Annapolis to meet me and advocate for your cause sometime in the next 90 days!

While I am working on many issues of fairness, transparency in government and public safety such as protection of the environment through solar energy advocacy and protection of schoolchildren, construction workers, bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers by reigning in abuses in the State’s speed camera programs this week I want to focus on protection of schoolchildren tormented by bullies on the internet.

Jon’s Featured Bill of the Week:  Anti-Cyberbullying

I am proud to be the lead sponsor of a new anti-cyberbullying bill that builds on last year’s HB 8 to eliminate the loopholes that allow vicious cyber bullying to continue. Cyberbullying is an issue of growing importance that affects all genders, races and age groups, particularly children. Unlike when I or many of you were children, the four walls of your home no longer protect us from bullies as the internet reaches the farthest reaches of our communities. Time and again, my constituents share the deeply upsetting stories of their child’s internet bullying and last year the story of Grace McComas’ suicide as a result of cyberbullying was a tragic wake-up call that we must do more to protect our children.

Session 2012’s HB8 criminalized “electronic mail with the intent to harass” sent directly from one person and received by another. What HB8 did not cover was the vastly more damaging form of cyberbullying that occurs when someone posts intimidating, harassing, sexually exploitative or otherwise socially threatening material on a public electronic forum. For example, on your Facebook wall or in a twitter post.

Unlike direct online communications, public posts are seen by hundreds or even thousands of individuals. As a result, public cyberbullying is significantly more damaging to our children than the person to person cyberbullying covered by last year’s bill.

Dates to Remember:  Christmas Tree Recycling - Baltimore County residents in single family and town homes should place their live Christmas trees out at the curb no later than Saturday, January 19 to ensure recycling. No artificial trees will be accepted for recycling. Make sure you set out the tree only, with no lights, decorations, tinsel, bags, or tree stands. Baltimore County residents who live in an apartment or condominium should follow their property manager's rules for recycling their Christmas trees. Please call the Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-887-2000 with questions.

Anti-Citizens United Rally at 11pm on January 17th at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. I will be a featured speaker at this rally to pressure both State and federal officials to rollback the corrosive and corrupting influence of Citizens United on our electoral process. Please note that the time has been changed from 2pm to 11am.

Polar Bear Plunge – Come out and join me at the Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday January 26 at 1 pm as myself and thousands of other Marylanders jump into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland. Click here to take the plunge for yourself!