Get to know your state’s legislature.
Maryland has a new General Assembly website for the 2021 Legislative Session intended to help us navigate during COVID lockdown. On it you can find committee schedules and agendas, listen to or watch committee hearings, look up your legislators, and find out more about our state’s electoral process. Be sure to check it out! A few important links are below for your convenience.
Why speak to our lawmakers?
Because most honestly have NO idea what public registration is doing to people. They have no idea that a sizable majority of registrants are not the hideous monsters painted in the media. Let’s face it: If we were not already very intimately aware of the destruction of lives this causes, we’d probably think it sounds pretty good overall, right? Most new members think that they are “unique” as far as sex offenders go, and registration might be okay for “those other people.”
Don’t legislators read these laws before they vote on them?
Lawmakers don’t have time to do research on every bill that gets introduced; they rely first on the persons drafting them to have done their homework, second on the Legislative Services department to analyze each one, and third on the assigned committees to look carefully for potential problems… but even the committee members do not have time to personally research each bill. It can take hours to research even fairly minor changes or additions to existing law.
Politicians rely on PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME to give them brief summaries of what each proposed law is for, and how it will work. MOST lawmakers, politicians though they undoubtedly are, want to do the “right” thing. Who knew twenty years ago that a little list of names of the “most dangerous child molesters” was ultimately going to cost so much money, and cause so much heartache for so many thousands of people?
How to make a difference:
Get familiar with the Maryland General Assembly web site, and get to know who YOUR elected officials are. If you are not under supervision, you have voting power! Even if you ARE under supervision, you can still contact legislators and voice your concern or support for a proposed bill.
Look for “Find My Representatives” on the top of the left-side menu and click the link. You can click the map, or search by zip code.
Committees of note: Most of the bills that concern us are heard in the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, although occasionally other committees will also hear “our” bills. These committee members are the ones you especially want to reach. You can easily find names and contact info for these folks on the MGA website also.
About the Legislative Process
The Department of Legislative Services has outlined our state’s legislative process in this document.
There are VERY unique guidelines this year, due to everything being virtual. Check out these instruction links.