By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
This is the last day of the Maryland General Assembly 2018 legislative session, otherwise known as sine die. And several legislative matters of interest to the Black community in particular have yet to be resolved. That includes the status of Del. Curt Anderson (D-43).
The veteran legislator, who originally entered the House of Delegates in 1983, did not step down as chair of the Baltimore delegation last week as he had allegedly planned to do. Initially, it was reported Anderson was going to step away and throw his support behind Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-45), current chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. However, the 16 city delegates voted against appointing a new chair on April 6.
The AFRO reported last week the decision to step down as chair of the Baltimore delegation was possibly linked to pending sexual harassment allegations against Anderson, who has been chair of the Baltimore delegation for 12 years. He says he plans to run for re-election.
The omnibus crime bill (Senate Bill 122), sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-11), was killed over the weekend, but some of the substance of SB 122, was broken into two pieces, Senate Bill 101 and Senate Bill 1137 and both were passed out of the House April 7, and are currently in the Senate. Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, the grassroots think tank fought hard to kill SB 122, but the group argues the amended legislation is not much better.
“Although these provisions are slightly less harsh than the ones presented in SB 122, these enhancements still perpetuate the racist idea that merely incarcerating people in Black and Brown communities will decrease crime,” stated the group on its Facebook page.
“This entire process was a political stunt for legislators in an election year looking to sell “progress” on crime in Baltimore City.”
The House and the Senate have reached a compromise that will allow for 20 new licenses for growing and processing marijuana, allegedly in a way that will insure racial diversity (because there is no racial diversity currently) among the companies selected.
“It’s great, great…We are breaking ground with legislating diversity,” Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-45), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus told the Sun.
According to the Sun, as a result of the compromise measure two Black-owned companies, who were originally excluded during the initial bidding process for medical marijuana licenses, will now be awarded licenses.
A bill to strengthen the state’s hate crime laws, authored by Anne Arundel County Sen. John Astle (D-30), passed the House April 7. Senate Bill 528 passed 133-4 and awaits the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan.