Friday, February 1, 2013

Sen. Brian Frosh Highlights Cash Lead for Attorney General // Del. Jon Cardin Talks Obesity, Speed Cameras, Clean Elections

Maryland Juice just received an email blast from State Senator Brian Frosh providing an update on his work in Annapolis, and also highlighting the status of his campaign for 2014 Attorney General. He notes that he has raised much more money than his rivals and that 90% of his $390,000 war chest was raised after President Obama was re-elected last November.

We've also been receiving a steady drumbeat of press releases and issue papers from Delegate Jon Cardin, another candidate for 2014 Attorney General. Below we highlight Cardin's comments on obesity, campaign finance reform, and speed cameras. Cardin and Frosh are currently jockeying to win the 2014 Democratic Primary and also face competition from Delegates Bill Frick and Aisha Braveboy. 


Dear Juice,
This is an update on the 2013 regular legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly and my exploration of the race for Attorney General in 2014.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which I chair, will be at the forefront of key public policy issues during the current session of the state legislature. A few of these issues are presented below.
Gun Violence:  The recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut made it clear that as responsible public officials and as a civil society we must reduce the potential for tragedy as a result of gun violence. As a longtime proponent of sensible gun legislation, I am proud to co-sponsor Governor O’Malley’s comprehensive Firearms Safety Act. In addition, I have introduced several other bills designed to prevent criminals from gaining access to dangerous weapons. These are common-sense measures designed to make our children, families, and communities safer. You can listen to my recent interview on WAMU here.
Death Penalty:  Although executions have been suspended in Maryland since 2006, the law permitting capital punishment remains. This finally may be the year that we see a full repeal in our state. Governor O’Malley has put his weight behind a repeal initiative, along with the NAACP and other advocates for repeal. I strongly support the repeal efforts.  
Pit Bulls:  In April 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals rendered a decision (Tracey v. Solesky) that left many dog lovers in Maryland upset. The ruling declared pit bulls to be inherently dangerous and made pit bull owners, and their landlords, strictly liable for injuries inflicted by these animals. A recent agreement among key legislators led to the introduction of SB 160 and HB 78. These bills are fair to victims, landlords and pet owners. They set reasonable standards for dog owners and victims in dog bite cases, regardless of the dog’s breed, and make clear that landlords and other third parties are not liable for damages, unless they knew, or should have realized, that the dog was dangerous.
After announcing the formation of an exploratory committee last fall for the 2014 election for Attorney General, I have visited every region of Maryland meeting with citizens, political leaders and groups to discuss the issues confronting our state. At the end of the annual reporting period on January 9, 2013, the Citizens for Brian Frosh Committee reported more than $390,000 cash on hand. This amount is more than twice as much as anyone else currently considering the race. The largest share of these funds—90%—was received in the nine-week period after the re-election of President Obama and before the filing deadline. I’m very grateful for, and very encouraged by, the generous support I have received from my friends and the valuable advice I have received.
I will keep you up to date on the progress of the 2013 legislative session as well as any developments in the 2014 race for Attorney General of Maryland. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. If you would like to join the Brian Frosh for Attorney General Exploratory Committee, or would be willing to help in any way, please visit
Many thanks,



By Delegate Jon S. Cardin

73.4% of males in Maryland are overweight or obese. Healthcare costs have risen by $28.5 billion since 1997. According to the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland, the estimated percentage of overweight or obese males in Maryland came in at a mind blowing 73.4%. The Coalition also told us that since 1997, when obesity was recognized as a major public health problem in America and specifically in Maryland, our total healthcare costs have risen by almost $28.5 billion and are expected to increase another $3.3 billion by 2015.

Further, chronic obesity has been directly linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and certain types of cancer. Each year, these diseases, which are often times preventable, cost the State hundreds of billions of dollars. We cannot simply accept that Maryland will follow much of the rest of the nation into morbid, money draining obesity. I know that we can do better.

Maryland could prevent that $3.3 billion increase in healthcare spending if Marylanders began to make healthier life style choices. Some actions are to quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and remain stress free. With so many internal and external pressures – ill nutrition, smoking, skipping exercise and engaging in unnecessarily stressful activities become the rule and not the exception.

One option to create healthier lifestyles is to monetarily incentivize healthy lifestyle choices. Given all the pressures to engage in negative lifestyle choices, creating a positive pressure to live healthy lifestyles may be just the intervention Maryland needs. There finally appears to be the critical mass of support necessary to create a pilot “Healthy Maryland” program for State employees, retirees and their families. With 78,000 employees, a Healthy Maryland pilot program could begin to turn the tide on Maryland’s obesity and healthcare spending epidemic.

Last week, I introduced a bill in the Maryland House of Delegates to create just such a pilot program. The one year pilot program is designed to create small monetary incentives for state employees and their families to live healthier life styles.  The idea is that if employees enroll in approved programs that promote exercise and weight loss or smoking cessation, they will save themselves and the state millions of dollars in healthcare each year. Specifically, the State will pay each employee $50 for enrolling and completing qualifying healthy lifestyle programs up to a maximum of $150 per year.

This program is not rocket science. It is already done in Canada, Texas, California and even Gaithersburg. This trailblazing bill makes Maryland’s focus on healthcare interventions pro-active instead of the failed reactive approach. I believe that many individuals who are on the margins can and will make positive lifestyle choices if given the opportunity; all they need is a small boost. This bill offers them that boost. I ask that the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene join me in passing this forward thinking legislation.


January 31st – Delegates Jon Cardin, Sandy Rosenberg, Elizabeth Bobo and Senators Joanne Benson and Bill Ferguson along with invited guests Common Cause Maryland, Maryland PIRG, Public Citizen, Progressive Maryland, the League of Women Voters and others will host a rally in support of campaign finance and election law reforms on Thursday February 7, 2013 at 11am on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. The speakers will highlight upcoming legislation that increases transparency in campaign contributions, tempers the influence of large donors by closing the LLC loophole, expands early voting centers and opportunities, allows for same day voter registration in early voting and publicly funds local elections.

In a statement Delegate Cardin said, “I am thrilled to be joined by so many coalition partners and my colleagues from the House and Senate fighting for sunshine in campaign finance and expansion of the franchise to more eligible voters through simple, common sense laws such as same day voter registration and more stringent disclosures for large campaign donations. Ever since the Citizens United ruling, there has been a groundswell of grassroots support for long overdue campaign finance and election law reform. We must keep this momentum going and pass this important legislation immediately!”


January 23rd – Delegate Jon Cardin has crafted comprehensive speed camera legislation that addresses the significant problems in the current system while ensuring that citations are issued for the safety of schoolchildren, construction workers, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists instead of for monetary gain.

The continued use of the so-called “bounty” or fee per ticket program by Baltimore City and other jurisdictions is unacceptable. Existing law states the practice of bounty programs is illegal but somehow, the counties have skirted the law on multiple occasions. Bounty programs undermine public confidence in the system by incentivizing camera operators to issue more tickets instead of ensuring safety and accuracy. Accordingly, Cardin’s bill closes the loophole jurisdictions have adopted to do an end-run around current State law.

Further, this bill is the only proposed legislation that holds speed camera operators responsible for the flaws in their systems. For every erroneous ticket issued, a $1,000 fine will be assessed to the camera operator. Delegate Cardin said, “I believe that if speed camera operators are going to make millions of dollars on the backs of our citizens, they must be held responsible for the accuracy of their cameras.

I am committed to making sure the program is fair to everyone and that citizens have complete confidence that the goal is safety over revenues. To this end, my proposed legislation requires a 30 day notice period for each new speed camera installation.”  Any violation recorded during this 30 day period will be enforced only as a warning. Finally, this bill creates a verifiable, two time stamped photo system that accurately demonstrates if driver was speeding, so that the driver can fairly and effectively challenge any erroneous violations in court.
Of the many speed camera bills being introduced this session, this bill is the most comprehensive and that it goes to the core of the significant problems in statewide speed camera programs.  My hope is that everyone in Baltimore and around the State will feel comfortable that they are being treated fairly and equally on the roadways.

 More on the 2014 Attorney General Race soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment