Maggie’s Legislative Update: February 24, 2012

Posted by Matt on February 24, 2012  |   Comments Off on Maggie’s Legislative Update: February 24, 2012

Friends,

We did it!

Last night, the Maryland Senate passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act which will give committed same-sex couples the right to be married in a civil ceremony while also protecting the rights of religious institutions to practice their faith as they see fit. I am so proud of Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch, President Miller, and all of the Senators and Delegates who played a part in passing this historic legislation.

When the House of Delegates voted for the Civil Marriage Protection Act last week, I spoke of a lesbian couple living in my district who, over a decade ago, wanted to adopt a child but were turned away because they were a “non-traditional household”. This was particularly appalling because the child they wished to adopt was languishing in our foster system because he was born HIV positive. When this couple contacted my office, I intervened and pointed out an executive order signed by President Clinton that said adoption agencies could not discriminate against same-sex couples if they received federal funding. The couple got their son and today he is healthy, happy, and part of a loving, supportive family.

Last night’s passage of the Civil Marriage Protection Act is an important achievement for many reasons and I am proud to say that Maryland is once again among the national leaders in extending full civil rights to gays and lesbians. Yet the real achievement of this bill is that the children of gay and lesbian couples will not have to suffer, or not have the same protections as other children, because their parents happen to be gay. Families like the one I just described will soon be able to enjoy all of the rights, benefits, and legal protections of marriage. Now that’s something to celebrate!

Today is the 45th day of the 2012 legislative session, marking the halfway point. While same-sex marriage has dominated the news coverage for most of session, there are so many other things going on in Annapolis that I’d like to share with you.

Pamela J. Kelly Tree-Mendous Program

Pam Kelly was a longtime resident of Charles Village, a constituent, and a friend. As an aide to Mayor, and later Governor, William Donald Schaefer she was a well-known figure in Baltimore politics. She was also an avid conservation, serving as a member and advisor to the Baltimore City Forestry Board.

Last year at Pam’s funeral, I made a promise to honor her legacy of service and commitment to the environment by introducing legislation to establish the Pamela J. Kelly Tree-Mendous Maryland Program. The program encourages Marylanders to be active stewards of our natural resources by planting native trees in public spaces.

HB 594, which would create the program, will be heard by the Environmental Matters Committee in the House of Delegates next Wednesday, February 29th. If you have questions about the program or would like to submit oral or written testimony in its favor, please contact my office in Annapolis.

Off-Shore Wind Energy:

Many of you have written to me expressing your support for offshore wind energy projects and like you, I think the time is right for Maryland to embrace a more sustainable energy future. Yesterday, Governor O’Malley testified in front of the House Economic Matters Committee in support of his plan to promote offshore wind power by requiring a portion of Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio come from offshore wind energy by 2017.

In addition to making good environmental sense, the Governor made the case that offshore wind makes good economic sense. Offshore wind projects would support an estimated 1,300 construction jobs and directly support 250 permanent jobs while indirectly supporting 230 more. There are protections against exorbitant increases for ratepayers written into the bill.

 

Thank you all for your continued support and for the opportunity to represent you in Annapolis. Please check out my Facebook page for more frequent updates on legislation before the General Assembly, happening in the 43rd District, and more.

Sincerely,

Maggie McIntosh