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Annapolis Notes

March 19, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Delegates demonstrate melting pot



Maryland House delegates took Gov. Martin O'Malley's "One Maryland" mantra to heart last week by pretending to be one big melting pot - a little more melted than they really were.

During the daily committee and delegation announcements, Del. Victor R. Ramirez, D-Prince George's, talked about a St. Patrick's Day celebration on behalf of the Irish Caucus.

Ramirez, who was born in El Salvador, actually is a co-chair of the Maryland Democratic Hispanic Caucus.

On a different day, Del. Susan C. Lee, D-Montgomery, who is Asian American, also spoke up as an Irish Caucus representative.

If anyone didn't understand the joke by then, it became apparent when Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany, who is white, stood up and introduced himself as honorary chair of the Black Caucus.

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Don't watch us



There was no force of law - just a challenge - when state lawmakers from Howard County called for students in their area to stop watching television for one week.

National TV-Turnoff Week 2007 is April 23 to 29.

"Television cuts into family time, harms our children's ability to read and succeed in school, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity," their press release says.

Which brings up an interesting tension, if you're looking for one.

Maryland Public Television airs selected bits of the General Assembly in action.

Will any Howard County students whine because they'll miss coverage of the bill to create a task force on the boating industry? Not likely.

But it's the principle that interests us.

So, go out and legislate, kids, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching others do it.




Not your average bill, part VI



The halls were alive Wednesday with the sound of anti-tax advocates in Annapolis. The occasion was a bill hearing on imposing - you guessed it - new taxes.

Services currently taxable in Maryland, the bill says, include commercial cleaning, cell phones, telephone answering, credit reporting and security.

The bill, sponsored by Del. James W. Gilchrist, D-Montgomery, would add many others, such as car washing, tanning, engineering, storage, shoe repair, tax preparation, dieting and direct mail advertising.

Wait, on the next page, there's more: stenography, exterminating, lab testing, sign painting and auctioneering.

Out of more than two dozen proposed additions to the list of taxable services, "independent lecture bureau" had an early lead in the "Really?!" category, edging "a weighing machine" and "shop window decorating."

That is, until the sharp Annapolis press corps zeroed in on the tastiest tax to be savored: "a dating or escort service."

Would nonprofits get tax-free companionship? Would philawwnderers move to other states to flee the tax burden? Would the lives of IRS auditors get a whole lot more interesting?

If only the Beatles were around to comment:

"If you go out to eat, I'll tax your plate. If you get too lonely, I'll tax your date."

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