Be proactive legislatively
Now, perhaps more than at any other time that I can remember, it is time to connect with and communicate with those who have been elected to represent us. Yes, this includes our Congressmen who sit in Washington, D.C. making major decisions on various life issues from health care to filing taxes to where and how we can live.
Legislative bills are submitted on a regular basis. However, the title and the focus of that legislative bill may hide many other things thrown into the middle of the mix. This has happened numerous times over the course of history. It is a ploy Con- gress uses even today. So while the bill may be about cutting taxes, there could be a provision hidden on page 357 of the 479 page document that addresses health care; or perhaps they slipped something in there to restrict immigration. There is no way to know what little bits of other political hot-potatoes have been thrown into the mix until someone has time to sit down and read the entire 479 pages including all the handwritten and crossed-out items from the original bill.
With that said about our folks playing games with our money in D.C., now is the time to also con- tact your state legislative representatives. The next Maryland General Assembly session will open in January with 47 senators and 141 delegates to represent the citizens of Maryland. Legislators are busy now drafting bills they plan to submit when the session opens. Routinely, there are over 1,000 bills submitted for consideration during each session. We should expect the same to occur when the legislature opens on January 10, 2018 at 12 noon.
Bills at the state level are assigned to specific committees, depending on their topics. Committee hear- ings and testimony from the general public will be heard before committee votes are taken. Some bills will fail based on the committee’s vote and the bill will be considered dead. However, many bills will pass on to other committees and hundreds of bills will move forward to the floor of the House or Senate. Both chambers of the legislature must pass the bill before it is sent to the governor’s desk for his approval or veto. It can take a bill just a few weeks to get “passed” while others may take from day one to the close of session on April 9.
Our Baltimore County Council has a similar process. Council members draft bills. Hearings are held. The Council votes and bills pass to the County Executive for his final decision – pass or veto.
Now is the time for all good citizens to know what they want, what they expect and what they hope their elected representative will provide to us, the people! Many people sit and complain because they don’t get what they want. Did you tell them what that is? They are not mind readers. And no, not all votes go our way but we still must speak up…NOW!