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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "david moon"

Legalizing marijuana, banning ‘ghost guns’ on to-do list for Md. lawmakers

WASHINGTON — In just one week, Maryland lawmakers will be back at work in Annapolis to begin a 90-day session.

Leaders say they hope to tackle a range of topics in this year’s session, including banning so-called “ghost guns,” criminal justice reform, legalizing marijuana and extending harassment laws to more employees.

But the first order of business when the session begins Jan. 9 will be swearing in the 141 delegates and 47 senators. There are 43 new House members and 17 new state senators this year.

Delegate Kathleen Dumais, who was first elected in 2002 and has been appointed House Majority leader, said she looks forward to mentoring newcomers.

“It’s an awesome undertaking to become a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, and whatever I can do to help our new members, I’m happy to do,” she said.

Seventy-one women won seats in the Maryland General Assembly, and many are newcomers to the State House.

Dumais, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said getting the perspectives of the growing number of women in Annapolis is a welcome and important development.

“I’ve certainly seen it in the type of legislation that I’ve worked on over the 16 years I’ve been a member of the house — on family law, domestic violence and sexual assault legislation,” Dumais said.

While the Kirwan Commission continues to work on overhauling education policy and coming up with a formula to fund it, Dumais said lawmakers will continue to explore issues brought up in the commission’s report, including the expansion of early childhood education.

Dumais said lawmakers will look at banning so-called “ghost guns” as well as 3D-generated firearms. Proponents of the bans say that 3D-generated guns present a problem, because they can’t be detected using the type of scanners found at courthouses and airports.

It’s illegal to remove serial numbers from firearms, but federal law permits a person to buy the parts needed to assemble a firearm without any identifying marks, such as a serial number.

Delegate David Moon said he’ll be looking at legislation that would keep nonviolent offenders from being sentenced to serve jail time. He said he’s especially interested in looking at how and why people with mental illness often end up in the criminal justice system, instead of getting needed care.

“That is not a cheap problem to address, but I think increasingly it’s one that ordinary folks on both sides of the aisle realize is a big problem,” Moon said.

Moon said he will also work on legislation to make cannabis legal in the state. Possession of marijuana — less than 10 grams — has been decriminalized, but it is not legal unless it is medical marijuana.

Moon said he sees a potential for revenues from the cannabis industry to fund education, mental health and substance abuse services.

Maryland’s Coalition Against Sexual Assault had a number of legislative victories in 2018.

Executive Director and Counsel for the organization Lisae Jordan, said the “Me Too” movement has kept a spotlight on workers that don’t get protections under the current Maryland laws against harassment and discrimination.

Companies with fewer than 15 employees are not subject to a number labor laws that deal with harassment, Jordan said.

“We need to have protections for maids, we need to have protections for people who are helping with our gardens, who are taking out our trash, who are working as domestics,” she said. “We want to make sure that sexual harassment laws protect everyone.”

Jordan also wants to change the law that said if an employee faces sexual harassment, they have 300 days in which to report it.

“We need to change those things,” she said, noting that in cases of sexual harassment, victims may delay reporting for a number of reasons, including fear of losing work. “We need to give women and men a longer time to report,” she said.

Lawmakers will be in Annapolis until the final day of the session, “Sine Die,” on April 8.


Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

State lawmakers sign letter to stop proposed Western Md. pipeline

WASHINGTON — More than 50 Maryland state lawmakers signed a letter urging the Maryland Board of Public Works to reject a deal that would let TransCanada build a pipeline in Western Maryland.

Columbia Gas, owned by TransCanada, hopes to build a 3-mile long distribution line near Hancock, Maryland to allow natural gas to be carried from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

TransCanada has said the construction is needed to allow economic growth in West Virginia.

Opponents, including environmental groups and dozens of Maryland state lawmakers including Delegate David Moon, D-Montgomery County, worry the pipeline could threaten waterways and wetlands in the proposed right of way.

A proposal for an easement to allow the project to move ahead goes before the Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday. The board — made up of Gov. Larry Hogan, State Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot — decides all state capital appropriations, preserves and protects all submerged lands and wetlands and handles state contracts.

Those who signed the letter argue that since Maryland banned fracking in 2017, it doesn’t make sense to allow a pipeline to run through the state. The pipeline would run underneath the Potomac River and cross part of the Western Maryland Rail Trail.

“I think a lot of us feel enough is enough, and it’s time to stop enabling fossil fuel consumption,” Moon said.

The letter reads as follows: “… it defies our state’s existing energy policy to bring the same public health risks to our residents by way of a pipeline.”

Moon said the waterways and wetlands in the Hancock area of Washington County are “delicate” and deserve protection. Despite assurances that protections will be in place, there are concerns about the potential of damage in case of a leak.

“I think that’s been one of the big fears whenever one of these big projects are proposed,” Moon said.

In March, Maryland issued a permit for the pipeline that state officials said includes a number of conditions aimed at protecting the environment. At the time, Secretary of the Department of the Environment for Maryland Ben Grumbles said the pipeline could not be built if it didn’t comply with requirements set by the state. State officials say some of the safeguards required include protection of drinking water.

“In addition to violating the spirit of our renewable energy portfolio and fracking ban, the TransCanada pipeline also directly endangers public health,” reads the letter addressed to the public works board.



Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com