Tag Archives: Maryland

After protest in his district, Miller says he regrets offering his ‘historical perspective’ about Justice Taney

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Kayan Morgan, 4, stands among a coalition of pastors and civil rights activists in front of B.K. Miller’s Meats and Liquors in Clinton, Md., on Monday. The group is protesting Miller’s opposition to the removal of former chief justice Roger B. Taney’s statue from the State House grounds. (Allison Shelley/For The Washington Post)

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., under fire for opposing the removal of a statue of former Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney from the State House grounds, said Monday that he did not intend to cause division by defending the author of the Dred Scott decision.

“As a student of history, I intended to respectfully state my preference for education about our flawed history and the greater historical context of Justice Taney,” Miller (D-Calvert) said in a statement. “I do regret that sharing my historical perspective has distracted from the larger issue we must face together as a nation and from my role to bring unity and fight for a better Maryland.”

Miller’s comments came shortly after a dozen African American ministers and community activists staged a protest against him in a section of Prince George’s County that is part of the district Miller has represented for more than 40 years.

Standing on the street in Clinton, Md., where Miller’s family owns a liquor store and he operates a law firm, the demonstrators carried handwritten signs that read “No Bigotry, No Racism” and “Black Lives Matter” and chanted “Miller and Taney, both the same.”

They said Miller’s support for Taney, known for his defense of slavery, was a show of disrespect to voters in his district and patrons who support his family’s businesses.

“Our state senator, who we’ve supported overwhelming with black votes, with Democratic votes, chose to throw egg on the face of every one of his supporters by supporting Roger Taney,” said the Rev. Bruce Branch, executive director of the Maryland Business Clergy Partnership and a candidate for Prince George’s County Council in 2018. “The electorate has to wonder, whose side is our Senate president on?”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called for the removal of the Taney statue this month, in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville that followed a rally in support of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Miller, the longest-serving senate president in the country, then sent a letter to Hogan defending Taney’s character and describing him as a man with a “complex” past and a long history of public service.He credited Taney for “anti-slavery words and actions,” saying that “unlike George Washington who freed his slaves upon his death, Taney freed his slaves early in his life.”

In his statement Monday, Miller publicly addressed the violence in Charlottesville for the first time, calling it “horrific and reprehensible . . . the unspeakable acts of racists” and reiterated his past criticism of the “wrongheaded” Dred Scott ruling, which said black people could never be citizens, whether slaves or free.

The protesters said they supported calls by state Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s), to censure Miller and are seeking to meet with Miller to discuss racial and social justice and an elimination of pre-formed Democratic slates in Prince George’s County primaries.

Miller spokesman, Jake Weissmann, declined to comment on the protesters’ statements. He said Miller’s office had not received a request for a meeting.

Via Washington Post

Read more >>> Lawmaker wants to censure Md. Senate President Mike Miller for Bad leadership

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Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., the longest-serving Senate president in the country, is a member of the Maryland State House Trust, the four-member panel that voted 3 to 0 last week to remove the 145-year-old statue. The 46-year lawmaker, who has long defended the statue as an important piece of Maryland history, refused to vote. Under Miller, institutional racism has been very high especially within state agencies and the court system in Maryland. Senator Miller also owns a number of liquor stores which are open 7 days a week in the county to benefit him personally. 

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Democrats in Disarray; Delegate Calls Miller and Zirkin “Democrats in Name Only”

IMG_9557.JPGDemocrats have fallen into complete disarray as they’re now turning fire on each other. More than a dozen House Democrats walked off the floor today and held a press conference outside of the State House to fight for the “Maryland Trust Act” also known as the Sanctuary State Bill.

Delegate Joseline Pena-Melynk (District 21, Prince George’s County) went after Senator Bobby Zirkin (District 11, Baltimore County) and Senate President Mike Miller (District 27, Southern Maryland). This is a clear case of mainstream Democrats looking for bipartisan solutions by listening to the people being taken hostage by an increasing number of extremists in their party.

She said, “Senator Bobby Zirkin is a DINO, a Democrat in Name Only. As 2018 approaches, people you are going to hear us tonight in the news. Who lives in his district? Shame him. We don’t need a Democrat like that. We need someone who is going to protect everyone. Who’s not going to compromise. How can you not be a true Democrat? You killed the bill. Shame on you and I hope your district takes you out.”

“Senator Miller, this is a priority for the Democrats…Did we need an issue like this, absolutely so the people know what we stand for. Act like a Democrat. We don’t need anyone who’s not a true Democrat. These people behind me have a spine and not everyone can say that.”

It’s unfortunate that extremist Democrats have held reasonable ones hostage because they listened to their districts. When Senate President Miller looks like the most reasonable person in the room, how extremist are the Maryland Democratic Party now?

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Maryland’s Senate president said a bill that added protections for people in the United States illegally won’t pass the Senate in its current form. 

You can watch the whole video here: https://www.facebook.com/bpsears/videos/10154449969122286/

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Maryland House OKs bill limiting school testing

md_general_assemblyThe Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill Tuesday that would limit the amount of time school districts can spend on testing.

The Less Testing, More Learning Act sailed through with minimal debate on a 139-0 vote.

The bill would limit schools to spending 2 percent of classroom time on tests that are required by the federal government, the state or the school district, including standardized tests. Tests and quizzes developed by individual teachers are not included in the 2 percent cap.

The 2 percent limit equates to about 21.6 hours per year in elementary and middle schools and 23.6 hours in high schools, according to the Maryland State Education Association, which has been pushing for the bill.

Advocates are hopeful that they’ll also be able to get the bill through the Senate, where 31 of 47 members are cosponsors. The bill is currently in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

A similar bill last year was passed by the House but died in the Senate in the last few weeks of the 90-day General Assembly session.

Gov. Larry Hogan has previously expressed concern that students are subject to too much testing in school.

Via Baltimore Sunmarylandmap2

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State BOE has primary jurisdiction over Howard County Superintendent – Dispute with the Local Board.

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Dr. Renee Foose, superintendent of Howard County Public School System (File photo)

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Update on HB1565 – PGCPS Bill on Reform.

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Prince George’s House Delegation Education Committee hearing on HB1565 to address issues with the school board structure was held yesterday.

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County verified with several delegates concerning bill HB1565. There are amendments currently pending including by Delegate Howard, Delegate Jay Walker. A possible hearing is supposed to take place next week on Wednesday March 8th, 2017 at 9am. However, delegates are not sure if the date conflicts with other hearings. In any event, it will take a while to decide if the bill dies in the committee or not.

According to delegate Howard, all senators from Prince George’s County except Senator Muse are against bill HB1565. She indicated she was fighting for the bill to be debated and is supportive. We will share the latest once amendments become available.

Remember , we must fight to help  stop….” Prince George’s County Public Schools diverting money through illegal procurement practices and stop using the annual school budget to create black holes to hide money that is later diverted to pet projects, bonuses and salaries of employees for central office staff. When the CEO of Schools, his executive staff and appointed board members are allowed to break the law; cover up the abuse and sexual molestation of children; lose a $4 million grant; fire whistle blowers reporting waste using manufactured evidence; give bonuses and salary increases to executive staff while only giving teachers a 2% cost of living increase; attempt to fund school background checks in the FY18 budget at $600,000 when the FY17 expenditure is projected to be less than $80,000; and consistently have more than $30 million in unplanned spending for non school-based programs or services, it’s difficult to make a legitimate argument that $20 million split between 24 counties is going to hurt our systems bottom line”… ( Tonya Wingfield via facebook)

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Update: The case of Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard and PG -402-17

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Delegate Carolyn JB Howard

Today at 9am, the Prince George’s County  delegation on Education Committee held a meeting in Annapolis following our  expose concerning Bill PG -402-17. Efforts to verify what was discussed about the bill were unsuccessful as Delegate Carolyn JB Howard was said to be in a way and means meeting . Members of the Education sub committee in the delegation side for Prince George’s County  are listed below. We will update you once we receive more information concerning the bill and other matters.

Chair Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Vice-Chair Delegate Daryl Barnes
Members Delegate Tawanna Gaines
Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk

Delegate Carlo Sanchez

Delegate Carolyn JB Howard

Counsel Lynne Rosen
Committee Staff Peggy Callahan

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MD House Ways and Means Committee to hear classroom digital device safety bill

screensandkidsPress Release
House Ways and Means Committee to hear classroom digital device safety bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2017

(ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND) The House Ways and Means Committee of the Maryland General Assembly will hear legislation on Friday, February 24th at 1:00 that directs the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to craft safety guidelines for the use of digital devices in Maryland public schools.

Delegate Steven Arentz (R-District 36) has sponsored the legislation, House Bill 866, “Primary and Secondary Education – Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures – Digital Devices.” The bill has 25 co-sponsors and broad bi-partisan support. An identical bill has been cross-filed by Senator Steve Hershey (R-District 36), co-sponsored by Senator James Brochin (D-District 42) and Senator Susan Lee (D-District 16). It has been referred to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

HB866 aims to protect Maryland students from the health hazards that medical experts have for many years associated with daily use of digital devices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had regulations governing the use of computers for office workers since the 1990s, but schools have no medical oversight.

“More and more experts are proving that there are serious risks to our kids’ health because they spend every day on a digital device,” Delegate Arentz said. “Maryland students need to get the most out of this technology, so we want medical professionals to lead us in a safe direction.”

Researchers have shown that many of the same health issues addressed by OSHA are now facing students who use digital devices every day in school. Retinal damage from blue light emissions, myopia, sleeplessness, muscle and joint pain, headaches, blurred vision, obesity, anxiety and addiction have all been associated as health risks facing students because of daily digital device use.

The bill has substantial support from the state’s medical community. The Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi), which represents all of Maryland’s doctors, voted to support the legislation at their most recent meeting, according to Gene Ransom, MedChi’s Executive Director. One of the co-sponsors, Delegate Clarence Lam, is a physician who leads Johns Hopkins University’s preventative medicine residency program.

Believed to be the first of its kind, the Maryland bill also has the attention of several large health groups across the country. The nation’s leading vision health organization, Prevent Blindness, supports the Maryland bill. Senior Vice President Jeff Todd wrote a letter commending Maryland’s “efforts to ensure children’s vision, eye health and safety is at the forefront of any statewide effort related to childhood development.”

Optometrists from around the country have also sent support to the General Assembly urging passage of this legislation, including J. Scott Sikes, O.D., a NC Optometric Society Education Trustee and Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, OD, FAAO, an Associate Professor at the Illinois College of Optometry and an attending optometrist in the Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service of the Illinois Eye Institute.

“Protecting eyesight when it comes to the progressive use of digital technology and screen time addiction in young people is our number one priority” said Justin Barrett, CEO of Healthe, a company that creates products “to reduce exposure to harmful digital UV and High-Energy Visible (HEV) blue light emitted from such devices.” “We hope the lawmakers will pass this important legislation to set a precedent for other states in the protection of all students.”

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, PhD, LCSW-R, a nationally recognized addiction expert and author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids, writes: “I commend the screen safety effort in Maryland and strongly encourage the General Assembly to pass HB 866 and SB 1089 to mandate medically sound classroom regulations.”

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is a national advocacy organization with nearly 50,000 members, including 1,000 in Maryland. The group has asked Maryland lawmakers to give HB866 their “complete endorsement.” In a letter to the Ways and Means Committee, CCFC Executive Director, Josh Golin, writes, “It is critical that medical professionals develop clear, research-based, age-appropriate guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools.”

Citing its 30-page research document released in August, Parents Across America (PAA) is another national advocacy group endorsing HB866/SB1089. PAA notes that it “has prepared extensive materials about the harmful effects on children’s academic, intellectual, emotional, physical and social development when digital devices are misused and overused… We applaud the Maryland lawmakers who have responded quickly and appropriately to this critical situation.”

Maryland parents have rallied to support the classroom screen safety bill as well. Leslie Weber, Co-Founder of Advocates for Baltimore County Schools (ABCSchools), the largest public education advocacy coalition in the county, says, “This bill is greatly needed, especially in Baltimore County, where one of the nation’s largest 1:1 digital initiatives is underway. Children as young as 5 are in front of screens most days — objective guidelines from the DHMH are needed to ensure the safety of these students.”

Janis Sartucci, a member of the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, said, “This bill is long overdue. Our children need to be protected from a variety of health risks that could affect them for a lifetime. We must get DHMH involved to be sure kids aren’t hurt.”

Queen Anne’s County parent, Cindy Eckard, has testified and written extensively about the need for medical oversight of classroom digital devices. Her Op Eds have appeared in both the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. During a recent radio interview Ms. Eckard told WBAL Radio reporter Robert Lang, “Of course we want our kids to master technology; we just don’t want them harmed in the process.”

Ms. Eckard also noted that teachers have a legal duty of care to protect students from known hazards in the classroom. “This bill will help teachers too, giving them statewide, uniform safety guidelines, from medical professionals and specialists at DHMH.”

Links to medical research; recorded General Assembly testimony; a screen safety press conference held in Annapolis with actress/comedian Paula Poundstone, and detailed information regarding the legislation are available on the website www.screensandkids.us or email Ms. Eckard at screensandkids@gmail.com.marylandmap2

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