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Senator Paul G. Pinsky ... your Annapolis

In this issue:

...Your Annapolis Advocate

Dear Friends:

It has been a long hot summer. In fact July was the hottest month on record. A new study by the National Academy of Sciences links the weather extremes of the last few years to climate change. Click here to read the study. To address this very problem, in 2009 I successfully sponsored Maryland's nationally recognized Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.

The political climate has also heated up. From gambling and dog liability to the presidential race, August has been steamy. Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate confirms his intent to radically remake government by slashing taxes further on the nation's billionaires and expanding the military, while cutting vital government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and other domestic priorities. You can find local events like phone banking and trips to battleground states (Virginia, Pennsylvania), to help re-elect President Obama. You can help with voter registration, canvassing, etc, by clicking here.



P.S. Do you want to join me and march in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 3 at 10 AM? I'd love to see you. Just click reply if you are interested.

You can find more frequent updates on Facebook and Google Plus and, please, feel free to forward this e-newsletter to friends. 

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Award

It was recently announced that I have been named Legislator of the Year by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. I am honored and humbled to be recognized for my work to protect our environment and public health. Our success in improving the environment in recent years is attributable to more than the work of one individual. It's more a result of the coordination between grassroots mobilization and growing political effectiveness. The League is hosting an awards dinner reception on Wed. October 10 in Annapolis. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

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Gambling Legislation Moves Forward; Dog Bite Bill Stalls

This week, the legislature met in a special session, approving gambling legislation. The bill must still be approved by voters in November. If voters agree, existing slots locations (Arundel Mills, Ocean Downs, and Perryville, plus Baltimore) will be allowed to add table games (blackjack, roulette, poker) and remain open for 24 hours. The law also authorizes a casino at National Harbor or Rosecroft raceway in our County. Finally, the law prohibits casino interests from making campaign contributions to candidates for state elected office.

I have long opposed gambling and voted against the legislation. The odds are against the player who is seeking to make money and  chronic gamblers lose in the end. Because gambling is more common in lower income groups, it also amounts to a voluntary tax on the poor. And finally, if the state promotes gambling simply to raise needed revenue, there are plenty of other ways to do just that, starting with closing corporate tax loopholes.

Unfortunately, four years ago voters approved gambling in Maryland and the 'genie was let out of the bottle.'  With that in mind, if an additional casino is to be added to raise revenue for the state, the National Harbor site makes the most sense. It would make a better location than the previously approved locations. By attracting patrons from other states due to its ability to host conventions and its proximity to Virginia and DC, it has the potential to bring in the most revenue.

Dog Bite Law

The legislature also considered legislation to revise the state's dog bite liability laws. Previously, vicious dogs got 'one free bite' before they were considered vicious and the owners could be held liable. This is horrible public policy, considering the violent attacks on helpless victims. A recent court decision deemed pit bulls to be inherently dangerous. Under the decision, pit bull attacks are governed by one standard and all other dogs by another. I supported (and voted for) legislation that treats all dog bites the same regardless of breed and removed the 'one free bite.' Unfortunately for victims the House weakened the bill and the bill failed to win passage. I am hopeful the legislature will take up the issue again when it convenes in January.

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Back to School

A new school year begins Monday for public schools in our County. A brand new Greenbelt Middle will open Monday and I am pleased to have pushed the state, along with my colleagues, to allocate the resources necessary to build the new school. The old building will be renovated and historic sections will be retained.

I am disappointed that County Schools Superintendent William Hite will be leaving the County shortly to lead the Philadelphia School System. Dr. Hite brought much needed leadership and stability to our schools in recent years (previously as deputy and acting superintendent). I hope to work with the Board of Education to find talented candidates to succeed Dr. Hite.
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National Night Out

Last week, I enjoyed attending National Night Out community events around the district which were focused on community safety and reducing neighborhood crime. That evening, I was able to attend events sponsored by Edmonston, Kingswood, Berwyn Heights, Greenbriar, New Carrollton, Riverdale Park, and Riverdale Heights. Unfortunately, I still missed a few community events.

It's gratifying to see these events continue to grow in number and size! More people are getting involved in our community activities and this community involvement helps reduce crime. Thank you to all of the organizers, especially our civic associations and police departments! If I didn't make it to your neighborhood, let me know about your event next year, so I can try to attend.

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