Friday, March 13, 2009

Either People Read This Blog or The World Is Full of Great Ideas

By Marc Korman.

I woke up this past Saturday morning to two good pieces of news on the policy front. Either folks in Annapolis are reading this blog or they have had some of the same great ideas we have discussed here. Either way, these two developments left me smiling.

Party Change Deadline

On Friday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 589, Delegate Jolene Ivey’s bill harmonizing voter registration deadlines for new registrants and those changing parties. We raised the same issue in a post last September, which discussed the problem in the law which requires current registrants changing or selecting a party for the first time to do so three months before the election, while the deadline for entirely new registrants is just three weeks before the election.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Ivey’s bill and one of our members, Karla Walker from District 20, testified on its behalf. Common Cause also testified in support. The bill passed the House unanimously and now heads over to the Senate. The bill was not cross-filed, but hopefully its broad support in the House will mean a smooth ride in the other chamber.

Prince George’s Soccer Stadium

Even better, the Washington Post ran an article on the ill conceived plan to bring DC United to Prince George’s County. We discussed the plan, which uses state money to fund stadium construction, in a previous post. The Post article demonstrated some reluctance in the plan by its most likely supporters, Prince George’s legislators. Delegates Dereck Davis and Joanna Benson both expressed concern with the cost. The Gazette also recently covered the “tepid reception” for the proposal from the Prince George’s County Council. Hopefully, others share their good sense and the General Assembly will not approve the financing.

Compared to some of the major issues before the General Assembly such as the budget, gay rights, and the death penalty, the two issues above are small ball. But a lot of the legislature’s impact comes from the cumulative effect of the small actions, or in some cases inaction, as discussed above.