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Mooney's committee considers wide range of issues

January 27, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Editor's note: This is part two of an occasional series explaining the committees on which state lawmakers from Washington County serve in the Maryland General Assembly.




Committee name: Senate Judicial Proceedings

Washington County representative: Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington

Started on committee: Served on committee from 1999 to 2001, then rejoined committee in 2003.

Committee's purpose: Mooney said the committee considers a wide range of issues connected to the law, including vehicle and traffic, abortion, gambling, crime, the death penalty, gay rights and medical malpractice.

How the Maryland General Assembly Web site describes the committee: "Judicial Proceedings Committee is assigned legislation relating to the Administrative Procedures Act; commercial code; constitutional amendments; corrections; criminal and civil laws, penalties, and procedures; equal rights and opportunities; ethics, family law; judicial administration and court structure; juvenile justice; landlord and tenant laws; law enforcement organizations; legal profession; legal rights and immunities; public safety; real property; trusts and estates; and vehicles laws."

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Key issue(s) the committee could face this session: If the Maryland Court of Appeals rules soon on a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban, the issue could come back to the General Assembly, including the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Mooney said. A circuit judge previously ruled that the state's ban is unconstitutional. A "clean cars" bill to reduce vehicle emissions and a bill classifying certain firearms as "assault weapons" have been assigned to the committee.

Bill(s) connected to the committee's work that Mooney has introduced or plans to introduce: Adding homeless people as a protected class under hate-crime laws; repealing the state's requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets while they ride.

Subcommittee(s) Mooney is assigned to: The committee doesn't have subcommittees.

Comment: Mooney said a lawmaker from Pennsylvania, where the senate has 21 committees, might ask which committees - plural - he is a part of. But since Maryland's senate only has four main committees, he said, they each hear a wealth of issues. Mooney said being a watchdog can be as useful as introducing bills that become law. "I protect and represent my constituents. There's just as much value when I defeat a bad bill that would take away their rights as when I pass a bill," he said.

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