While I do not sit on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, the committee that handles most of the crime issues, I do all I can to support and vote for legislation to toughen the penalties on child sexual predators. This session, I co-sponsored seven such bills and told the primary sponsor, state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, that I would do whatever I could to help pass this vital legislation, and I did a lot behind the scenes. I also supported legislation to crack down on drunken driving and to strengthen our state's death penalty law.
Protecting our families means more than just tough laws. It means working to create opportunity. Our working families, small-business owners and retailers are really feeling pinched in these economic times. Tragically, many have lost their jobs. We need legislation that will ease the fiscal burden on our families and businesses and that will lead to sustainable job growth.
For these reasons, I co-sponsored legislation to rescind Gov. Martin O'Malley's sales tax increase. Additionally, in the 2007 special legislative session, I voted against increases to the sales tax, corporate income tax, income tax and all of the other tax hikes.
Part of improving economic opportunity is making sure the opportunities are there for our legal American citizens. I was proud to stand as a co-sponsor with state Sen. Allan Kittleman with his e-Verify legislation that would prohibit all state contractors from hiring illegal immigrants and would require these contractors to use the federal e-verify program to authenticate the employment eligibility of individuals that employees are U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, that bill did not pass. It is, however, an idea whose time has come and I will continue to work on it in future years.
Finally, while I know the issue is sometimes controversial, I believe life is sacred and for that reason, I oppose abortion. I supported an amendment to our budget that would stop our state from spending Medicare and Children's Health Insurance Program dollars on abortions. Beyond just believing that abortion is wrong, I am adamantly opposed to our state publicly funding abortions.
There were many more issues before the 2010 General Assembly legislative session. I'm sure there will be a greater discussion on many of these topics and more as the months go by.
Donald F. Munson
candidate in 2010 election
Tourism plays critical role in Washington County's economy
To the editor:
The tourism industry plays a critical role on our economy. Each household would pay nearly $1,000 more in taxes annually without the tax revenue created by tourism.
This is the last day of the 2010 National Travel and Tourism Week and Washington County Tourism Week, and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) reminds local residents that travel matters.
Tourism plays a critical role in the nation's economy as one of America's largest industries. In Washington County, more than 6,200 people are employed in the tourism industry. Visitors spent about $300 million here in 2008, according to the latest statistics from the State of Maryland.
There have been state budget cutbacks and we have felt cuts right here in our county, with the closures of the Sideling Hill Welcome and Exhibit Center and the temporary welcome center located at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown. The CVB has financially contributed to the new welcome and exhibit center in Hancock and the CVB is assisting with the town's application for a state heritage area grant.