The Maryland Student Legislature, a group of student delegates who debate and resolve issues pertaining to regional, national and global interests, will sponsor its February Interim Council meeting at Western Maryland College beginning Saturday, Feb. 9 and continuing throughthe following day. Student delegates from Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Western Maryland College, and several other colleges and universities will be in attendance to debate legislation and conduct business in a manner pattened closely after the Maryland State Legislature.
The Student Legislature, founded in late 1989 by students at the University of Maryland College Park, is designed toprovide undergraduate and graduate students with insights into the state's political process.
Students are elected by their own MSL chapter delegations as representatives, or "senators," of their institutions, and meet in quarterly sessions to draft legislation on a range of issues. Bills and resolutions are researched by student assistants and brought forward forconsideration by legislators.
This body of work -- each quarterlyInterim Council session usually results in 10 to 15 pieces of legislation -- is hammered into shape at the legislation's annual meeting in April in Annapolis and is then presented to the Maryland State Legislature for further consideration and possible introduction as official legislation.
Although the student organization is less than 2 years old, state officials recognize its importance as a barometer of young voters' concerns in Maryland.
Past legislation has dealt with a woman's right to abortion, smoking in the workplace, affirmative action and capital punishment.
According to Western Maryland College junior Thomas Quirk, delegation chairman and president of the WMC Political Action Coalition, the Maryland Student Legislature offers many opportunities for students interested in politics, government, law or issues that affect all citizens.
"The MSL provides students with excellent opportunities for experience in training and developingleadership skills, campaigning for public office, drafting and debating legislation, public speaking, soliciting and managing money, and working with parliamentary procedures," Quirk said. "This is an up-and-coming organization with dynamic potential."
Quirk is a businessadministration and political science major. He is the son of Mr. andMrs. Michael Quirk of Arnold.
So far, three Maryland institutions-- Western Maryland College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland -- have become permanent charter members of the MSL. Several other schools, including Morgan State University, St. Mary's College and Mount St. Mary's, are expected to obtain charter membership in the coming months.