Pre-Session Annapolis Report

Per the Maryland Constitution, the 430th Session of the Maryland General Assembly is set to begin this Wednesday, January 11 at noon. This year, I intend to focus my legislative efforts on matters of election law, campaign finance law, environmental protection, bicycle safety, and financial stewardship among the many other priorities the General Assembly will take up, such as same sex marriage, transportation funding and other critical budgetary matters.

While I intend to cosponsor multiple bills of my esteemed colleagues, I plan to introduce roughly ten bills of my own. Here are four brief previews of the legislative efforts where my staff and I will be focusing much of our energies this session:

Public Financing for Elections, Campaign Spending and Contribution Limits - creating a public financing system for General Assembly elections as our best protection against the influence of special interests, restricting candidate spending and donor contributions, and closing existing loopholes for campaign finance and fund transfers;

Health Improvement and Cost Savings Act - providing a subtraction modification under the Maryland income tax for specified health and fitness-related expenses with the twin aims of encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing the State's crushing health care costs;

Orphan's Court Judge Qualifications - requiring judges of the Baltimore County Orphans' Court to have been admitted to practice law in the State, in good standing with the Maryland Bar, so as to confront the backlog of cases expected as Baltimore County maintains the highest per capita number of seniors of any county in the nation, save Dade County Florida;

Bicycle Safety and Infrastructure - ensuring safe, contiguous trails for cyclists and making sure that cars and cyclists share our roadways safely.

I hope you were able to catch me on WBAL's C4 Show last Friday. I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our discussion of the tough issues sure to come before the General Assembly this year, as well as some of my own legislative initiatives. I especially tried to be fair and intellectually honest in our conversation. I hope to post a link to the audio archive of Friday's C4 Show on my website. Please be sure to check out my new and improved website at www.JonCardin.com and stay up-to-date by "liking" my Facebook page or following my Twitter account, @JonCardin. I'll be posting regular updates and items of interest from Annapolis.

Finally, I must congratulate my friend and colleague Vicki Almond for her tremendous achievement: After serving as Baltimore County Councilwoman for just one year, last week Vicki was elected by her peers to lead the Council as Chairwoman, the first woman elected to the position since 1983. It is an honor and a pleasure to work hard for the people of Baltimore County alongside a public servant like Chairwoman Almond.

Don't forget to register or support me in the frigid Polar Bear Plunge on behalf of Special Olympics Maryland taking place January 28. I encourage everyone to view this and other events of interest on the community calendar on my new website. To that end, if you would like to suggest an appropriate event be added to my community calendar, please feel free to contact my office and we will do our best to do so.

I hope your New Year is off to a great start. As my legislative office kicks into high gear with the 2012 Session upon us, I look forward to serving the people of the 11th District and the State of Maryland to the best of my abilities and reporting to you from Annapolis on a regular basis. Until our first Report of the session (later this week), my best wishes for a healthy and happy 2012 and GO RAVENS!

Sincerely,
Jon S. Cardin