- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
92 bills and counting await Md.’s General Assembly
Session won’t open until Jan. 11
Question of the Day
Maryland's General Assembly won't go into session for another two weeks, but some lawmakers are getting an early start on submitting legislation.
Legislators had submitted 92 bills as of last week, with goals ranging from allowing table games at slots casinos to giving the Assembly voting power over toll increases.
Lawmakers are expected to submit more than 2,000 bills in coming weeks and during the 90-day session, which begins Jan. 11.
Delegate Barbara A. Frush, Prince George's Democrat, said bills are often filed early to allow for input from local officials and pre-filing a bill can also keep it from getting lost or sidetracked in the session's hectic final weeks.
"You get an early hearing, and early hearings are easier because they're not as rushed," said Ms. Frush, who in October filed House Bill 5. The ethics reform bill would take her county's zoning authority from the county council and give it to a new county planning board.
"By the time you get to the 1,200s, a lot of the bills get lost," she said.
Among the other pre-filed bills this year include one to establish a commemorative month for German-Americans, one to relieve employees from having to work a shift after more than three hours of jury duty and another proposing stricter penalties against mass thefts. The latter typically involves groups of young people entering a convenience store to steal from the shelves.
Lawmakers may submit bills throughout the session, but Senate bills introduced after Feb. 3 and House bills introduced after Feb. 10 have to go through rules committees and are typically more difficult to pass.
Legislators submitted 2,353 bills during last year's session, of which 707 passed both chambers.
Unsuccessful bills fail in a variety of ways, with some voted down on the House or Senate floor and others referred to summer study or quietly shelved by committees.
Of the nearly 100 bills that have been pre-filed this year, none of the Assembly's most-anticipated proposals appear to be on the list.
The Assembly is expected to tackle such issues as same-sex marriage and a potential gas-tax hike. It also must consider new legislative maps and pass a state budget in the face of a $1.1-billion structural deficit.
The map, budget and gay-marriage bills will all be proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has said he will also sponsor jobs legislation that could offer business incentives and relax some state regulations.
Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, might also submit new versions of two failed bills from last session, which would establish an offshore-wind energy plan and institute septic-tank reforms.
State leaders often do not submit their most important legislation until the session's early days, or later, due in part to complicated drafting processes and confidence that their bills will be heard even if they aren't at the front of the line.
Last year, a bill to increase Maryland's alcohol tax was introduced in late March, with just three weeks left in the session, and was fast-tracked to passage through urging by Democratic leaders including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George's Democrat.
"It's good to file early, but then you have some bills that get pushed through at the end," Ms. Frush said. "So it can be kind of a crapshoot."
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow