Friends & Neighbors,
The 2016 Maryland legislative session is rapidly approaching, and I have much to discuss with you. Below you can read about some hot-button issues we'll be taking on in Annapolis next month, as well as some advocacy projects I've been working on.
Enjoy the Holidays & Happy New Year!
Delegate David Moon
OVERRIDING GOVERNOR HOGAN'S VETOES - After the 2015 Maryland legislative session ended, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed several bills that I voted for and co-sponsored. I've been talking to my colleagues and keeping an eye on whether we can pull together the 85 votes needed to override each veto. Stay tuned as we gear up to reverse the damage at the start of session in January. Among the bills that Hogan killed are:
- EX-FELON VOTING RIGHTS: A bill that would restore voting rights to thousands of Marylanders who have served their time and have been released from prison.
- MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION: A bill to close a loophole in Maryland's marijuana decriminalization law that allows the police to continue arresting residents for possession of marijuana rolling papers and pipes, even though possessing small amounts of marijuana can no longer lead to an arrest.
- CORPORATE TAX DODGING: A bill to stop online travel booking websites from collecting sales taxes from Maryland residents, but refusing to turn the money over to the state.
- ASSET FORFEITURE: A bill to restore the American principle of "innocent until proven guity." Currently, police can seize your cash and property, and the burden is on YOU to prove that the assets are not related to crime.
FIGHTING LEGISLATION TO ALLOW DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT RESIDENTS - Numerous pieces of legislation have already been introduced for the 2016 legislative session, and not all of them are positive. One Maryland Republican has filed a bill to circumvent our state's nondiscrimination laws and allow nonprofits and other organizations the right to discriminate. The Washington Blade recently reported on this anti-LGBT bill, which I plan to fight when it comes to the House Judiciary Committee:
WASHINGTON BLADE: "Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland have introduced bills that would allow officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs.... A spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told the Blade that he will not 'take a position' on [Maryland Delegate Ric Metzgar’s bill] until it goes through the legislative process."
REDUCING WEALTH & INCOME INEQUALITY IN MARYLAND - In just a few weeks, a Maryland commission (aka the Augustine Commission) will recommend legislation to make the state more "business-friendly." Numerous tax reform proposals are on the table right now, including some that would provide tax cuts for our wealthiest residents and corporations. I plan on working to make any tax reform proposals that emerge, ones that benefit those in greatest need -- instead of continuing handouts for those who weathered the recession more easily than their neighbors. Major cuts to our state revenues will jeopardize any chance for meaningful future increases in funding for schools, affordable housing, deficit reduction, and much more. In the meantime, we are awaiting a release of the final recommendations from the Augustine Commission. Additionally, I'm hoping to work with my colleagues on advancing legislation on earned sick leave, women's pay equity and paid parental leave. Stay tuned for updates on these economic justice initiatives!
TACKLING POLICE BRUTALITY & MASS INCARCERATION IN MARYLAND - Three task forces worked over the summer to tackle some of the most challenging criminal justice issues in Maryland. We will soon see legislation emerge from these studies to curb police brutality, create police body camera rules, and to sharply reduce unnecessary and expensive incarceration of our residents. Resulting legislation will come to the House Judiciary Committee, where I am a member, and I plan to fight vigorously to ensure we get the strongest reforms possible out of these historic opportunities to advance criminal justice reform. The Washington Post recently discussed some of the proposed changes:
WASHINGTON POST: "A Maryland panel on Thursday endorsed a major shift in sentencing drug offenders, recommending sentencing guidelines that focus more heavily on treatment than incarceration for people charged with possession. The recommendation is one of more than 25 proposals that the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council voted to forward to the General Assembly. The changes could save $247 million over the next 10 years in state prison costs, the council said."
BANNING SALES OF GUNS TO POTENTIAL TERRORISTS - The Republican-controlled Congress recently voted down a proposed law to ban those on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms. As a result, I'm working with state lawmakers to close this loophole in Maryland. WBAL recently reported on our efforts:
WBAL: "After a similar federal bill failed in Congress, four state legislators are looking to make certain new gun restrictions law in Maryland. Democrats Sens. Jamie Raskin and Jim Rosapepe, and Dels. David Moon and Luke Clippinger said in a release Friday they plan to file a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would deny firearm purchases to anyone on the federal terrorism watch list. As The Baltimore Sun reports, Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday dismissed a call by U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen to take executive action to this end."
BEER & WINE SALES BEGIN AT TAKOMA PARK CO-OP - Thanks to a law we passed this year, at the request of the Takoma Park Mayor & City Council, beer and wine are now being sold at the Takoma Park-Silver Spring co-op. I recently visited the Co-Op to check out the new law taking effect:
Warning Democratic activists about trickle-down economics
Talking to Democratic leaders about my first year in office
SAVE THE DATE: DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
CASA in Action
Clean Water Action
NARAL Pro-Choice MD
National Organization for Women (MoCo PAC)
Public Schools Retirees Association
Maryland Votes for Animals
Hispanic Democratic Club
Coalition of Asian Pacific Democrats of Maryland
Jamie Raskin &
Valerie Ervin &
Delegates Sheila Hixson,
Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jeff Waldstreicher,
Susan Lee & Aruna Miller
Takoma Park Mayor
Takoma Park Councilmembers
Seth Grimes &
Howard Kohn, Diana Kohn, Marie Ritzo, Marlana Valdez, Joseph Eyong, Kate Rhudy, Casey Anderson, Abigail Burman, Jean Athey, Sue Udry, Thomas Nephew, Martine Zundmanis, Usman Ahmed, Jonah Gold, Josh Gruenspecht, Rob Richie & Cindy Terrell, Tina & Don Slater, Lisa Polyak & Gita Deane, former Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair Stan Gildenhorn & more!