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Senator Paul G. Pinsky ... your AnnapolisAdvocate


In this issue:

...Your Annapolis Advocate

Dear Friends:

We awoke to yet another mass shooting this week. While we share our thoughts and prayers to survivors and victims' loved ones, we must avoid becoming numb to what has become common place, and yes, sadly routine.

Automatic or even semi-automatic weapons should not be sold to the general populace. They may be necessary for the military but they are not for the public. They are not used for hunting so what purpose do they serve other than to create wanton violence?  The weapons spew out hundreds of bullets in seconds and even if the perpetrator is stopped, it is always too late. We have a long way to go to addressing gun control.

A lot is happening across the state and nation and I wanted to keep you up-to-date on a few of these happenings.

Below you'll find my thoughts on healthcare and the Governor's plan to add toll lanes on our highways.

Stay tuned – and stay involved.

Yours,

Paul

Follow me on Facebook  and Twitter ,  and please, feel free to forward this e-newsletter to friends. 

Healthcare in America
(The following is reproduced from a recent Facebook post.)

The door has nearly been shut on those who want to turn back the clock on health care reform. Enough sectors of the public finally saw the light -- after years of misinformation, alternative facts and general badmouthing -- and swayed enough senators to put it to rest.

Since 2010, nearly 20 million people have gained coverage and can now rest a little easier. But their health care costs and insurance coverage are still not settled. Even under Obamacare, health insurance is unstable with private insurance companies able to pull out of the market and/or raise rates.

That's why we need a Medicare-For-All, Single Payer plan. Why let the insurance companies' profit margin dictate who gets insurance and how much people pay? Why should our rates include the insurance industry's lobbying and advertising costs? Health care should be driven by service, not by profit.

Multiple insurance plans, voluminous paperwork and fear of lost coverage shouldn't be acceptable. Now that we've beaten back the people who want to turn the clock backwards, we should organize to improve on what we have and turn the clock forward. We need to advocate for a more sensible, rational system that provides affordable and accessible health care for all.

Hogan's Toll Roads

After cutting a few tolls early in his term, Governor Hogan has unveiled a plan to dramatically expand the DC Beltway, I-270, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway with miles of new toll lanes. While no one wants to sit in traffic gridlock, building more pavement is at best a temporary fix which will cost billions and require extremely expensive tolls for drivers. So called Hot Lanes or "Lexus Lanes" on the Virginia side of the beltway have done little to reduce traffic, and tolls spike to over $15 during rush hour. I-270 tolls could rise to as much $40 one way!

To reduce traffic, we should invest in mass transit and smart growth; not build more roads.

Ben Ross (a smart growth advocate) penned a great analysis here, that I encourage you to read.

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MagLev High Speed Rail Line Proposed

You may have heard a proposal to build a high speed MagLev rail line between DC, Baltimore, and eventually New York. Maglev trains use magnetic levitation to raise trains off of tracks avoiding friction and moving parts, enabling operating speeds in excess of 300 mph. It promises to take just 15 minutes to travel from DC to Baltimore and hour to New York. This proposal is still new technology and may be worth considering, but in any case is many years away.
 
However one of the proposed alignments, if pursued, would be extremely disruptive to communities in Landover, Glenn Dale, and Bowie and threatens the WB&A trail. I have been working with colleagues to ensure that this route doesn't gain traction. The Maryland Department of Transportation is holding an open house later this month to explain the project and answer questions:
 
October 14 (10:00 am - 1:00 pm)
Bowie State University, Student Center
14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715 

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Environmental Group Names Green Champions 

Last month the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) named me a "Green Champion" after earning a 100% rating for the 2017 session and a lifetime 99% rating for my 23 years in the state senate. This was the highest lifetime rating of any senator serving more than two terms.

Every year I introduce bills to clean up our environment and help shape countless initiatives during the legislative process. This past session I actively worked on a number of environmental efforts and also sponsored legislation to reduce antibiotic use in animals to combat antibiotic resistance in humans.

Click here to review the LCV scorecard and check other legislators' scores. 

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Equifax Breach and Credit Freeze

A new law that took effect October 1 gives Marylanders the right to "freeze" their credit at no charge. A credit freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. It is one of the most effective ways to ensure you are not a victim of identity theft. 

While the law allows you to freeze your credit without charge, credit bureaus may charge up to $5 to "unfreeze" or temporarily "thaw" their credit. In the wake of the Equifax breach, customers should be able to freeze and unfreeze your credit without charge. Many transactions require "unfrozen credit," including bank loans and credit cards as well as many rentals, insurance, etc. While the new law is helpful, I support legislation to allow consumers to thaw their credit at least once per year without charge.

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Riverdale Station Trail Segment Opening Soon-Updated

The Riverdale Park hiking/biking trail segment behind the Whole Foods Riverdale Station Development is expected to open by early November. I am working to ensure there is trail access from College Park all the way to the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River in one continuous segment. 

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