May 6, 2010
Press Release #10-105
St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) hosted the 2010 Maryland Legislative Wrap-up with Maryland Delegates John Bohanan (D-St. Mary's County), Anthony O'Donnell (R-St. Mary's and Calvert counties), and John Wood (D- Charles and St. Mary's counties) last week. The discussion, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Public Policy program at the college, included highlights from the 2009-10 Maryland legislative session. The delegates addressed a crowd of nearly 100 students and community members.
"It is always a pleasure when the Center gets to host Maryland delegates on campus, especially when we have great representatives from both political parties," said Michael Cain, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. "Our students and community members got a great deal out of this year's Legislative Wrap-up."
Much of the discussion was about the state budget and how to balance it next year "Although the delegates disagreed about the mix of taxes and spending," Cain said, "the debate was a good one for our students. There are lots of hard choices and our students got to see how different delegates are trying to balance competing interests." Delegate O'Donnell stressed the need to eliminate inefficiencies in government, while Delegate Bohanan stressed the need to keep education a top funding priority of the state. Delegate Wood expressed concerns about how taxes and regulation are affecting small businesses in the state.
The 2010 legislative session passed a total of 810 bills this year. One bill, which will affect many, will ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. Another will give 16-year-olds the ability to register to vote, although actual voting would still take place at 18. Penalties for child sex offenders will increase, as well as penalties for gangs. Teachers will not receive tenure for three years after the start of their employment, and student performance will also be taken into consideration. Also, mediators will be available to families who have had their home foreclosed.
The Center for the Study of Democracy is a joint initiative of St. Mary's College of Maryland and its affiliated institution, Historic St. Mary's City. It explores contemporary and historical issues associated with democracy and liberty in national and international contexts. The center provides a forum for presentations by government officials, journalists and scholars; publishes scholarly writing on subjects of civil governance; encourages and supports public participation in political processes; and engages undergraduate studies in study and research on related subjects.
Over the years, the Center has helped to develop the area's democratic capacity by organizing forums for political discussions that include public officials, students and citizens. The Center has hosted policy discussions on health care, environmental awareness, changing the form of local government and political debates. The Center also partnered a series of debates running up to the 2006 election and expects to host candidates during the fall 2010 election. In 2006 the Center was viewed as a must-visit destination for those vying for Maryland political office, including Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich, Democratic candidate for Governor, Martin O'Malley, and candidates for U.S. Congress, Attorney General, Comptroller, the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates, St. Mary's County Commissioners, and local Sheriffs.
St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.
More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2009 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Co-ed champions.
Category: Lectures and Talks