As I begin the 2012 legislative session in the Maryland House of Delegates, I wanted to connect with you again, for a wrap up of a few of the items that came up during the interim period. It was an active one with many important issues for our residents of Charles County, but I’d like to focus on just three: the Redistricting Plan, the Juvenile Detention Facility, and the Rte. 234 Bridge over Allens Fresh Run.
Firstly, the Governor’s Redistricting Committee went around the state during the interim to explain the legislative redistricting plan process to local voters, including a stop at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata. The Committee’s plan was ultimately sent to Governor O’Malley in the fall, and the Maryland Genaeral Assembly now has 45 days from the start of the 2012 session to vote on it, so the outcome will be known in the near future.
Secondly, the Department of Juvenile Services, with a mandated requirement to build a juvenile detention facility in Southern Maryland, began considering a location on Acton Lane in Waldorf. Several public hearings were held in Charles County for community input with DJS Secretary Abed. Although this was a contentious issue, the Secretary was cooperative with the process, and listened to your comments on the subject. As Chair of the Charles County Delegation, I wrote a letter in early December to Secretary Abed on behalf of the members, suggesting that DJS explore other sites that might be more suitable for the purpose. Shortly after that, the Charles County Commissioners, under the leadership of Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly, followed with their own letter to the Secretary, supporting the same request. Secretary Abed is currently researching various site options to complete his task.
Finally, a duo of a hurricane and tropical storm occurred in one week this fall, and caused the need for major repairs by the State Highway Administration along a stretch of Rte. 301, and the Rte. 234 Bridge over Allens Fresh Run. Although Rte. 301 was fixed quickly, the 234 Bridge was a major undertaking requiring traffic detours for many long weeks, and the construction of a temporary bridge. This project caused much concern, and I thank SHA, particularly Engineer Lee Starkloff, for coming to speak at several meetings in the county to explain the situation, including updates for the public on their progress. SHA also took into account the constructive suggestions from the residents who were inconvenienced by the project. I congratulate SHA for completing the temporary bridge ahead of schedule, and look forward to the completion of the permanent bridge that is now underway.
During the 2012 Maryland General Assembly session, there will be a number of upcoming important and controversial issues for the legislature to consider. These include 1) the aforementioned Redistricting, 2) the State Budget 3) New Revenues, 4) the Marriage Equality Bill, and 5) Legalizing Medical Marijuana. Additionally, in my role as Charles County Delegation Chair, my major responsibility will be to successfully guide the legislative proposals from Charles County through the process. I will be working closely with our County Commissioners on these proposals which were put forward by constituents at the Commissioners legislative public hearing in early November 2011.
While this legislative session proceeds, I am also interested in knowing what issues concern you, and I want to hear your comments. I can be reached on the same office phone number in Annapolis as last year (301-858-3247), but if you come up to visit me during session, you will find that there have been a few changes in my office. My new office is in Room 426 on the fourth floor of the Lowe House Office Building. Along with that change, I welcome my new legislative aide, Julie Vanderslice, who will assist with my communications, constituent outreach, and research on legislative matters.
Last but not least, on a personal note, I want to formally announce the birth of my newest grandson, Ryan Matthew, who joins my other two grandchildren, Bryce and Maddi, in making me a proud grandfather. Ryan came into the world prematurely on September 8th to my daughter Katie and her husband John, but is quickly making up for it and is doing just fine. I send my thanks to those of you who sent to me your best wishes on this happy event.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Delegate Peter F. Murphy
Charles County, District 28