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The major debate on the House floor last week was the Maryland Defense Act of 2017. The resolution authorizes the Attorney General to file suit against the federal government without seeking additional permission of the Governor or General Assembly, putting the Maryland Attorney General on par with about 40 other state Attorneys General. This is important because the Ninth Circuit decision halting the President's immigration Executive Order was in response to a suit filed by the Washington state Attorney General. Moreover, Maryland may have interests against the federal government that other states do not share, such as protecting federal programs to clean the Chesapeake Bay. Indeed, the new Environmental Protection Administrator brought suit against federal Chesapeake Bay programs when he was Attorney General of Oklahoma. I was pleased to vote for this legislation.
Since my last update, several pieces of legislation I authored have continued to move through the legislative process. Most significantly, the Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing Promotion Act was heard by the Environment and Transportation Committee. The bill would use a small portion of our state's tobacco settlement funds to incentive apartment, condo, and co-op buildings to go smoke-free.
I joined with several other legislators to seek a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust for the C&O Canal Trust. The grant would support the Trust's efforts to improve the C&O National Historical Park, a great resource in our state stretching from District 16 to western Maryland. You can read the letter here.
The new federally mandated Metrorail Safety Commission has received increased attention lately. It is still expected that Maryland, Virginia, and DC will all have passed identical legislation during the next few weeks to establish the Commission. My companion bill regarding how Maryland's commissioners will be selected was heard by the House Environment and Transportation Committee last week.
Congressman John Delaney has recently introduced legislation regarding Metro reform. I do not necessarily share Congressman Delaney's precise views on all of the issues related to Metro, but I am pleased to see our federal leaders engaging on these issues. You can read about Congressman Delaney's proposal here.
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