Thank you for taking an interest in our state government!
First, a little background on the General Assembly.
The Maryland General Assembly meets once per year for 90 days. In 2014, they will meet January 8 – April 7, 2014. A bill is introduced in the House/Senate and then assigned to a committee.
Some stats from the 2013 session:
- 1,535 bills introduced in House of Delegates
- 1,072 bills introduced in the State Senate
- 99.82% of House bills that made it out of committee passed the House
- 99.56% of Senate bills that made it out of committee passed the Senate
Clearly, if a bill makes it out of committee, it’s almost certain it will pass its chamber of origin. While the bill may fail in the other chamber (e.g. a Senate bill had a 73.66% chance of passing the House in 2013), there’s no guarantee it will fail.
The Maryland Legislative Watch project gives Marylanders an easy way to fight legislation in committee.
Bills highlighted violate the Maryland Declaration of Rights and/or raise taxes, fees, penalties, and fines, and decrease government transparency. Occasionally, we highlight a good bill (e.g. one that increases government transparency).
We post bills when they’re introduced and assigned to a committee (well, we post as many as we can).
That’s where you come in.
Each post contains a link to a bill, a synopsis of the legislation, and one click to contact all the members of the committee to which the bill is assigned.
Committees don’t hear from voters about most bills. They hear about the gun bill and the gas tax. They don’t hear about bills that may snuff out competition for big companies, bills that increase the number of government employees that are a protected class, or decrease government transparency.
So when enough people email the committee members about a bill, the committee takes notice.
View the linked .pdf for a sample post, demonstrating the tools on the site.