It looks like the legislative alert we sent out last week was a success. I've heard back from quite a few of you who took the time to email and call your legislators. This is great!
So, we've got a little more work for you. The following two bills currently being considered in the House of Delegates will, if passed, greatly improve safety on our roads.
What we want from you is simple. If you live in the district of one of the legislators listed below please give them a call or send them an email telling them that you support these bills. Always remember to include your home address so that the legislator knows that you live in his or her district.
And if you're not sure who your representatives are in the House of Delegates, please check out the state's "Find Your Legislator" site.
Richard Chambers, Executive Director "Find Your Legislator" site: <a href="http://mdelect.net/electedofficials/">http://mdelect.net/electedofficials/</a>
HB 143 - Bicycle Safety Bill. SUPPORT. Mandates that motorists pass bicycles at a safe distance of at least 3 feet on our roads.
This bill is one of our top priorities for 2008. It's still in the House of Delegates' Environmental Matters Committee. The bill died in that committee last year due to a lack of support. Some delegates were bothered that a motorist would possibly be inconvenienced and may have to slow down to pass a bicyclist at a safe 3 foot distance. There was also confusion as to whether or not there were similar laws in other states (the fact is that Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin all have 3 foot passing laws).
This time around, One Less Car has worked with the Maryland Department of Transportation to craft a bill that we believe has a chance of getting out of committee and on to the House floor. But to ensure that HB 143 moves forward, we need a targeted email and phone campaign towards a handful of delegates on the Environmental Matters Committee.
So, if you reside in the districts of these following legislators, PLEASE send them an email or give them a phone call in the next day or two telling them to support HB 143. And, as always, make sure you give your address to show that you live in their district. Here are the delegates we need you to contact:
* James Malone, Dist. 12A (Catonsville, Arbutus & Lansdowne). firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-841-3378
* Pamela Beidle, Dist. 32 (Severn, Ferndale & South Gate). email@example.com or 410-841-3370
* Joseph Boteler, Dist. 8 (Parkville, Perry Hall & Overlea). firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-841-3365
* Virginia Clagett, Dist. 30 (Annapolis, Eastport & Arnold). email@example.com or 410-841-3211
* Michael Weir, Dist. 6 (Dundalk & Essex). firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-841-3328
Prior Introductions: A similar bill, HB 173 of 2007, received an unfavorable report
from the House Environmental Matters Committee. This bill is also similar to
SB 871/HB 721 of 2006. SB 871, as amended, passed the Senate and received an
unfavorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee. HB 721 received
an unfavorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee.
HB 667 Manslaughter by Vehicle or vessel - Criminal Negligence. SUPPORT. Increases the penalty for negligent motorists who cause the death of another person.
Currently in Maryland a very high common law standard of "gross negligence" is applied to cases where a person's reckless driving causes the death of another. This means that for a motorist to be held accountable for killing someone they would almost have to drive into that person on purpose.
This bill would remedy the problem by creating the crime of "Manslaughter by Vehicle". It would give a fine and jail time to someone who causes the death of another as the result of the person's driving, operating, or controlling a motor vehicle (or boat) in a "criminally negligent manner". Criminal negligence is a slightly lower standard than gross negligence. It's defined as when a person "grossly deviates from the normal standard of care." In other words, driving in a VERY unsafe manner.
Passing this law would put Maryland in line with 20 other states that have adopted a similar standard for criminally negligent driving. But this bill has failed in the past. That's why we need those of you who live in the districts of the following legislators on the House of Delegates' Judiciary Committee to email and call them and make sure they support HB 667.
And if you really want to make your voice heard, there will be a hearing on the bill in front of the House Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, February 27th at 1PM in Annapolis. Written and spoken testimony in favor of this bill would be greatly appreciated.
HOUSE JUDICARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
* Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., Dist. 27A, Calvert & Prince George's Counties, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3488 or email@example.com
* Samuel I. Rosenberg, Dist. 41, Baltimore City, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3297 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Curtis Anderson, Dist. 43, Baltimore City, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3291 or email@example.com
* Benjamin S. Barnes, Dist. 21, Anne Arundel & Prince George's Counties, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3046 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Jill P. Carter, Dist 41, Baltimore City, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3283 or email@example.com
* Frank M. Conaway, Jr., Dist. 40, Baltimore City, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3189 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Kathleen M. Dumais, Dist. 15, Montgomery County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3052 or email@example.com
* Don H. Dwyer, Jr., Dist. 31, Anne Arundel County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3047 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* William J. Frank, Dist. 42, Baltimore County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3793 or email@example.com
* Kevin Kelly, Dist. 1B, Allegany County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3404 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Benjamin F. Kramer, Dist. 19, Montgomery County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3485, email@example.com
* Susan C. Lee, Dist. 16, Montgomery County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3649, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Gerron S. Levi, Dist. 23A, Prince George's County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3101, email@example.com
* Susan K. McComas, Dist. 35B, Harford County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3272, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Tony McConkey, Dist. 33A, Anne Arundel County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3406, email@example.com
* Victor R. Ramirez, Dist. 47, Prince George's County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3340, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Todd L. Schuler, Dist. 8, Baltimore County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3526, email@example.com
* Christopher B. Shank, Dist. 2B, Washington County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3636, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Michael D. Smigiel, Sr., Dist. 36, Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne's Counties, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3555, email@example.com
* Kriselda Valderrama, Dist. 26, Prince George's County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3210, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher, Dist. 18, Montgomery County, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3130, email@example.com