General Assembly Quits with Work Half-Done, But We’ll Help You Keep Your House in Order
If you’re like us, you’ve been tidying up the homestead, planting seeds, hunting termites and fixing what broke over winter.
We’re not finished, but that’s okay. Come the weekend, we’re got a new plan. Gonna mess with the boat. Check out the Orioles. Maybe even watch golf on TV.
We’re taking our cue from this ho-hum General Assembly: Our house isn’t in good order, but after this session, neither is Maryland’s.
The Legislature skedaddled this week with a whole lot of work undone. Despite momentum to make major strides on our troubled Bay, the Senate balked at the Green Fund proposal to levy a fee on developers operating close to the Chesapeake.
The Assembly passed a smoking ban covering bars and restaurants, which is a good thing. But the way things turned out, developers are firing up cigars and writing checks to their protectors now that the 90-day prohibition on fundraising has expired.
The Assembly also refused to follow the lead of states like Massachusetts and address the shame of our health insurance system or to take on insurance companies that want to penalize us by cutting their potential global warming losses. And somehow, O’Malley and legislators ignored the elephant in the room: a looming $1.5 billion budget deficit.
There were a few noteworthy successes: the Clean Car Act and the banning of terrapin harvesting come to mind, along with freezing the escalating tuition in the state university system.
But don’t tell us that the major success this year in Annapolis was a “civil tone.” If Marylanders wanted to hear choruses of Kumbaya ringing in the Statehouse, we could hire a choir. Or sing it ourselves.
There’s politics in the art of governing like politics in getting elected. Passing laws, like running for office, is a contact sport, and friendly dealings seldom add up to good public policy.
Meanwhile, we’ve talked ourselves back into those home repairs. Somebody has to get some work done.
The Home and Garden Guide that comes with this week’s paper changed our mind, plus the hope that someday our house might make it into one of those home tours Margaret Tearman writes about.