House Bill 1159, which prohibits the sale of synthetic marijuana where tobacco products are sold, was signed into law today. (Synthetic marijuana is marketed and sold as herbal incense or potpourri).
This legislation will force Maryland business owners to choose between the profits of tobacco products or the profits made off of harmful synthetic drugs that are marketed and sold to minors. “The Maryland General Assembly failed to take a substantial step forward in combating the growing problem of synthetic drug sale and use during the 2013 Legislative Session,” said Delegate Cathleen Vitale – R District 33. “I wanted to take a step forward in protecting our children by limiting access to these synthetic drugs.” Delegate Vitale introduced this legislation as a bill designed to attack the accessibility of the drug, at the profit centers. This bill diminishes the access to purchase these synthetic products at locations such as convenience stores, tobacco stores and gas stations, where cigarettes and other tobacco are traditionally sold.
Violators will be fined an initial $300, up to $3,000 for subsequent violations within a two year period. At the crux of the legislation is the authority of the Field Enforcement Division of the Office of the Comptroller to revoke a business’s retail tobacco license if found in violation of the law. The initiative was fully supported by the Maryland Retailer’s Association, law enforcement and parent groups.
Staying ahead of those determined to exploit our youth with “legal but deadly drugs”, Delegate Vitale said, “By taking an outside-the-box approach and hitting the revenue source of those determined to corrupt the health of our youth, we can limit market availability. The message is clear – Not in OUR State, not to OUR children.”
Vitale: Pushing Red or Green “Buttons” In The Maryland General Assembly
I was asked recently whether Republicans in the General Assembly only push the “red button” when it comes to voting. I thought for a moment, smiled at the thought and proudly replied, “Every time it’s necessary!” I did, however, point out to my questioner, “I push the green buttons too,” but I reserve those for fiscally sound budgets, keeping criminals in jail, protecting our youth, open government and, of course, when it protects the taxpayers’ hard-earned income.
I guess I understand how someone looking at a list of votes, having little more than a title, would think that a red vote was simply a constant opposition to everything. After all, who would vote against gender discrimination, protecting families or child safety acts? If the bills actually represented what the titles implied, I would think you would have to question the judgment of your elected officials. However, it’s not the title but the contents of the bill that should be viewed when casting red or green votes.
As I look back on the last 90-day session, it does seem that I leaned a bit heavy on the red button. I am not apologetic, however; I believe in the votes that I cast. This year’s budget increase of almost $2 billion over last year’s budget deserved a red vote. It did not include spending cuts, reduced costs or the elimination of outdated programs no longer useful or functioning. Instead, it included more money for the failed Maryland Health Exchange and Common Core and approved taking money from employee pension funds, restoration efforts and highways. Who could support that? Certainly not I.
I did vote green on requiring the City of Baltimore to take financial responsibility for its detention center. All other counties must; why shouldn’t they? The green vote was placed to reduce spending by almost $600 million, restoring pension benefits and protection of the Transportation Trust Fund. My green votes on budgetary issues were in support of my commitment to use taxpayer money in the manner in which it was intended. Fiscally sound, core services. Remember, if government would just do what it was designed to do - provide core services to provide basic protection, education and infrastructure - we would not, year after year, talk about deficits or raising taxes.
Several policy votes earned a green vote in support of Maryland taxpayers. Votes to repeal income taxes, estate taxes and to give Marylanders the same advantage that other states have in estate planning appropriately earned a green vote.
Support of the continuation of medical marijuana policies to provide an appropriate system to administer medicinal marijuana prescribed by a physician to those who would benefit earned a green vote. So did the restriction of the sale of synthetic marijuana, a “legal drug,” which has caught the attention of our youth but has caused serious illness and death in our 13- to 19-year-old population. There was no compromise, however, on decriminalizing marijuana. A red vote for that bill.
While I do not support discrimination against individuals on any level, I voted red on a bill that would afford “transgendered individuals” the right to infringe on other people’s rights when it came to using the bathroom and locker rooms of public facilities.
Finally, green votes were gladly provided for bills that enhanced the public’s right to know. I voted green to require legislators to vote on their pay and benefits and not hide behind self-rule and nondisclosure. I sponsored and voted green on the public’s right to access government records and to require the government to show why records should be withheld, changing the current law, which required the public to show why they wanted to review a public document.
The lists of votes, be they red or green, are available on the Maryland General Assembly website for anyone who has a question about any legislators voting record. I believe that each vote, red or green, represents the voices of the men and women who elect me and allow me the privilege of representing them. I have a responsibility in voting to do so with integrity, honesty and conviction, and I strive to do so with each bill I read (the bill, not just the title). As you look at the past several years, know that you can call or email me regarding any position I have taken. I will respond and defend or discuss those votes. After all, the votes are your way of having your voice heard. I hope that you have been pleased with my ability to push both the red and the green button on your behalf, and I look forward to continuing our efforts together, to make our county and state the best it can be. Enjoy the spring, the graduations and the family gatherings. I’ll see you soon.
• Anne Arundel County Early Voting
Thursday, June 12, 2014 through Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 10 am until 8 pm.
West County Library - 1325 Annapolis Road, Odenton, MD 21113
North County Library - 1010 Eastway, Glen Burnie, MD 21060
Severna Park Library - 45 W. McKinsey Road, Severna Park, MD 21146
Pip Moyer Community Recreation Center - 273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis, MD 21403
Edgewater Library - 25 Stepneys Lane, Edgewater, MD 21037
I consider myself to be a Pro-Life Conservative. I believe that the family is the foundation of humanity. I believe in the sanctity of life and that it is our responsibility to protect it.I support traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
I believe that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right of very American and I will be a strong defender of this right. Government should not be allowed to prevent law abiding citizens from the right to bear arms and I will fight efforts to erode this most basic right
I believe that providing our children with a quality education enriches their lives and prepares them for future success - in their daily lives, in higher education, and in a competitive global marketplace. A strong education system benefits everyone. It strengthens the economy, provides a quality workforce and produces future leaders. I will work tirelessly to ensure tht our children get the education they deserve.
I believe in smaller, less intrusive government. It should be focused on doing a few things, but doing them well - good roads, clean water, safe communities. Families will be able to keep more of their hard earned dollars, and government will learn to work with less. I believe management of money is a matter of public trust and should not be taken lightly. Wisely managing resources, preparing fo the future and avoiding debt are the responsibility of your government leaders. It’s very easy to say No to everything, and nothing gets done. It is much harder to do the research, assess the needs, set the priorities and appropriate the funds when necessary. I believe managing these resources should be done in an open and transparent manner. I will fight to reduce the budget and reigh in government spending.
We are a nation of immigrants. My husband’s and my great-grandparents waited their turn to legally immigrate to this Country, and America is a better place for it. Our nation has failed to deal with immigration in a comprehensive manner. Our state has become a have for those living outside the law. It is inexcusable that we spend over a billion dollars a year on benefits for illegals. I will support legislation that ends these benefits.
I believe that the way to more jobs is to create the opportunity for small and large businesses to grow and expand. Maryland is unfriendly to business and our state regulations and complicated, high tax structure has forced big and small companies to leave. This must change. I will work tirelessly to reduce the unnecessary regulations and tax burdens that have prohibited our Maryland economy to grow and flourish.
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Sharon Calcaterra, Treasurer, Friends of Cathy Vitale
"During the period of time that the Maryland General Assembly is in session, State elected officials are prohibited by law from receiving campaign donations. If you would like to donate to Delegate Vitale's campaign, please delay any contributions until after the close of the Legislative Session. Any contributions mistakenly sent will be returned to the contributor. Delegate Vitale is intent in insuring that she follows the letter of the law regarding this issue"
Cathy VitalePost Office Box 1021Severna Park, Maryland 21146Home Phone : (410) 544-4937