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Del. LeRoy Myers: What we did in the 2007 session

May 19, 2007

Now that the 2007 legislative session is over, I would like to take this opportunity to report on the accomplishments of the General Assembly, specifically for the residents of Washington County, as well as statewide legislation that will impact our community.

Locally, The Washington County delegation had a successful session, getting several bills passed that support the agenda of the Washington County Commissioners. The delegation was also able to secure a bond bill for $200,000 for the C&O National Historical Park as well as bringing home $8.970 million allocated for FY08 school construction.

Statewide, I am proud to report on the passage of Jessica's Law (HB930), which is an effort that Republicans have led over the past several years. This law prohibits parole for first- and second-degree child sex offenders and requires the offenders to serve at least the mandatory minimum sentence prescribed by law.

I co-sponsored House Bill 213, which designates sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 13 as a "crime of violence." This bill keeps those convicted of these crimes off our streets, making our communities safer for our children. House Bill 285 will increase penalties for possession of child pornography. Both of these bills passed the House of Delegates with a unanimous vote.

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There were also some bills that I did not support and was disappointed by their passage. House Bill 148, which establishes Maryland as a member of the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote," in which Maryland would commit its presidential electors to the national popular vote winner in a presidential election was recently signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley on April 10.

This bill disregards the US Constitution and surrenders Maryland's electoral autonomy to larger states.

House Bill 992 repealed the mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers, allowing them back into our county and communities at a faster rate.

Senate Bill 488 also caused concern, as it would allow convicted felons to vote after the completion of their sentence, regardless of the nature of their crime. It was a close vote in the House with 78 for and 60 against but it subsequently passed and was signed into law by Gov. O'Malley on April 24.

House Bill 6 was a very controversial bill and one that the General Assembly has been discussing for years.

This bill would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in Maryland. I strongly opposed this bill; however, it passed the House but then fortunately stalled in the Senate. I'm sure we'll see this bill again next year and I will continue to fight against it.

We have a lot of work to do in the 2008 session. The General Assembly moved through this session without dealing with the $1.5 billion structural deficit.

And because there was little attempt to curb spending in the FY08 budget, I'm afraid that in the coming months we might be looking at massive tax increases, which I will continue to fight against. Sensible health care, a taxpayer bill of rights, truth in sentencing, divestiture from terrorist states and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants are all issues that have to be addressed in the upcoming session.

It is an honor to represent Washington County in the Maryland House of Delegates. I look forward to meeting many of you during the interim.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any assistance to you or your family.

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr.

Clear Spring

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