Smoke Filled Back Room Deals
Senator Oaks finally resigns from the State Senate
State Senator Nathaniel T. Oaks, under indictment on political corruption charges, resigned from the Maryland Senate Thursday. Oaks entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Court, though it was unclear which charge or charges of the 10 corruption counts against him he would plead guilty to. Senator Oakes admitted to taking bribes, including more than $15,000 in cash and season tickets to the Ravens, as well as other things. He will be sentenced in July. Nathaniel Oaks name will remain on the Baltimore City Democrat ballot for the June Primary election.
Shenanigans and back room deals
With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, Democrat leaders in Annapolis are rushing through a bill to kick out Governor Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot from the oversight of billions of dollars in state spending. Liberal Annapolis leaders will be replacing Hogan, Franchot, and the State Treasurer with a bureaucratic unelected commission that will award billions of dollars in school construction money.
This outrageous legislation passed both the House and Senate on Party line votes. There were virtually no hearings and no agreement from the Knott Commission who had worked on the issue for two years. Democrat leaders are tone deaf if they think Marylanders want backroom deals that lack visibility and accountability when it comes to awarding billions of taxpayer dollars for any purpose, but especially education spending.
The Capital Gazette Editorial Board said, “But it doesn’t follow that it’s a good idea for the General Assembly, with virtually no hearings and in the waning days of an election-year session, to rush through a huge change in the way state government has operated for decades. And that change is likely to diminish visibility and accountability.” (Editorial, “Dislike Of Franchot No Reason To Rush Big Change To School Funding,” Capital Gazette, 3/28/18)
“These are the kinds of smoke-filled, backroom actions that cause people to rightly lose faith in their government,” Peter Franchot said this week while downstairs, unbeknownst to him, the Budget and Taxation Committee was voting the bill out to the full Senate. “That’s why people are disgusted with Annapolis.” (Bryan Sears, “Md. Bill To Strip BPW Of Role In School Construction Projects On Fast Track,” The Daily Record, 3/28/18)
Most major media sources in the State are urging Governor Hogan to veto this bill. I voted against this bill and fought it on the floor. We offered an amendment to return accountability to the Board of Public Works. It failed on a party line vote.
Maryland’s Redistricting Reform
Maryland tops the nation in the art of Gerrymandering. While the liberals in Annapolis talk a good game on fairness, transparency and voting rights, they refuse to pass Governor Hogan’s Redistricting Reform Act Of 2018, HB 356. For three years in a row, The House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee has voted down any reasonable redistricting reform legislation. They did, however, pass a sham of a bill to have redistricting reform if the other states in our region do so. Maryland citizens are not buying that and neither did any major media outlet.
While AG Frosh is busy suing President Trump, he had refused to take up the redistricting case before the Supreme Court. This case is currently under consideration by SCOTUS.
Governor Larry Hogan: “The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Benisek v. Lamone , which challenges the blatant manipulation of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District after the 2010 Census. I joined with a bipartisan group of current and former governors to file an amicus brief arguing that Maryland’s partisan gerrymandering system violates voters’ constitutional rights.” (Governor Larry Hogan, “Partisan Gerrymandering Has No Place In Our Democracy,” The Washington Post, 3/27/18)
Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around. 72% of Marylanders support independent nonpartisan redistricting. I can only assume the other 28% are either extreme partisans or don’t know what redistricting is.
Happy Easter to you and your family!
Because I could not say it better, here is a statement from President Ronald Reagan: Statement on the Celebration of Passover and Easter - April 17, 1981
This weekend, people across the world will join in holy celebrations, drawing spiritual sustenance from their worship. Here in America, religious beliefs are central to our founding principles. We draw special strength from our unity as a people who trust in God, and from the lessons for us and our children in our rituals.
Saturday night, [Friday night this year] Jewish people everywhere will sit with their families and friends for the celebration of Passover—a celebration of freedom.
Beginning with the traditional Seder meal, Passover is rich with tradition and symbolism. Its observance reminds us that the fight for freedom and the battle against oppression, waged by Jews throughout their history, is one of which all free people are a part.
Beginning today and culminating on Sunday morning, Christians will celebrate with their families the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death. We will remember that He gave His body and His blood—washing clean the faults and the shortcomings of the world. In our rejoicing we will renew the hope that is ours through the risen Lord.
Nancy joins me in extending to all who celebrate Passover or Easter our warmest wishes for a time filled with joy and spiritual fulfillment and our hope that one day men and women everywhere will be able to worship God in the manner of their choosing.
From my family to yours, enjoy your Passover and Easter celebrations this weekend.
Thanks for your interest in the important issues facing Maryland today.
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God bless you and your family!