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Homeless man testifies for expanding hate-crimes bill

Annapolis Notes

Annapolis Notes

February 18, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

They went head to head in a 2006 Democratic primary, but John P. Donoghue and James Devine greeted each other amicably in Annapolis on Wednesday.

Devine, who lives in his truck, was there to testify in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill about extending hate-crimes protection to the homeless.

Donoghue was there, well, because he represents Subdistrict 2C.

Donoghue soundly defeated Devine in the 2006 primary, but they shook hands and exchanged pleasantries outside the judiciary hearing room last week.

Later, inside the room, Devine's words for Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, were not as warm.

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During his testimony, Devine said he's had trouble with a law that seems to make it tough for him to file charges against people who harass him.

He said he wanted, and has asked for, Shank's help.

"Mr. Shank, have you done anything?" Devine asked -- with a touch of dramatic flair, since Shank had been out of the room for a while.

From the green bag

Gov. Martin O'Malley on Friday announced 165 "green bag" nominations to various state boards and commissions.

The list includes four Washington County residents:

· Robert Lester Green and J. Michael Stouffer for the Commission on Correctional Standards

· Austin S. Abraham for the Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees

· Teri A. Heger for the Maryland Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors.

The governor's office provided background on only a handful of nominations, including Green, who is the warden of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility and was the warden of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office of Corrections Bureau.

The "green bag" nominations get their nickname from a satchel in which the governor's office delivers them to the state Senate.

The Senate's Executive Nominations Committee votes on the appointments before sending them to the full Senate for consideration.

Not your average bill, part VII

We wonder if Del. Karen S. Montgomery, D-Montgomery, is doing some political maneuvering on the sly through her bill requiring certain state agencies to have an "integrated pest management plan" in place.

For the House and the Senate, which are dominated by Democrats, might that entail locking the chamber doors before the Republicans get there?

Not your average bill, part VIII

We've said it before, we'll say it again: The Maryland General Assembly just wouldn't be the same if there weren't a slew of bills around to create task forces.

Here's what lawmakers want to "task" these "forces" with studying this year:

Classroom indoor air quality standards. The boating industry.

Sex offender registration and notification. The regulation of artificial trans fat.

Charitable and commercial gaming activities. The prevention of human trafficking.

Health-care access and reimbursement. System variables that have an impact on student achievement in underperforming public schools.

Required deposits on returnable beverage containers. The impact of sleep apnea on children.

The preservation of heritage language skills. Motor vehicle towing practices.

And ... more.

Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we could study why there's a perpetual need to do so much studying?

By, golly -- you don't say.

We at Annapolis Notes reckon that Del. Adelaide C. "Addie" Eckardt, R-Caroline/Dorchester/Talbot/Wicomico, is just our kind of people.

She recently filed House Bill 1215: "Task Force to Study Task Forces, Commissions, Temporary or Ad Hoc Committees, and Related Panels."

The task force would study "the purpose, findings and effectiveness" of all those task forces, etc., enacted from Jan. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2007.

The real trick might be finding a handful of state lawmakers who aren't already weighed down by their duties to all of those other task forces.

And who do we call upon to decide if Eckardt's task force is doing its job?

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