When the legislature meets, no man (or dog) is safe

August 12, 2012

Many people credit Mark Twain with coining the phrase "No man is safe when the legislature is in session." Maybe that is why Maryland's state constitution limits the legislature to only 90 days a year. But the current trend is to have special sessions to deal with so-called "emergencies."

Shortly after his election as governor in the fall of 2006,Martin O'Malleycalled a "special session" of the legislature in 2007, after lawmakers failed to raise taxes during the regular session. The result was a 20 percent increase in the state sales tax.

Now we are experiencing a second "special session" barely four months after this year's regular 90 day session ended. Apparently our lawmakers can no longer get their act together in the scant 90 days allotted to them, so such special sessions are becoming the norm, which comes at added expense to taxpayers.

This time they are considering various gambling issues that they could not agree on before. In addition, they are even considering legislation to change the legal status of a certain breed of dogs.

Perhaps it is time to update Mark Twain's observation to: "No man or dog is safe when the legislature is in session."

Iver Mindel, Cockeysville

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