Maryland’s House Judiciary Committee recently held a meeting to discuss whether police should help federal authorities enforce immigration laws.
If passed, House Bill 1549 would require counties and municipalities to comply with and support the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Montgomery, Prince George’s and other Maryland counties that are accused of being so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions currently decline to hold jailed immigrants for federal immigration enforcement any longer than they would hold legal residents.
The General Assembly has rejected the bill in the past two sessions, with no signs that the Democratic-controlled body plans to change direction.
“We want our immigrants who come to this country to feel included,” testified Davion Percy of the Prince George’s County Municipal Association, which represents the county’s 27 municipalities.
“There are reasons why people come to this country legally, and there are reasons why people come to this country illegally,” Percy said. “We can’t automatically assume that everyone coming to this country illegally is here to commit crimes.”
Senator Takes Action Against Gun Violence
State Sen. Susan Lee of Montgomery County is floating a bill to prosecute threats of mass violence against students and others.
Lee introduced legislation last week to eliminate a requirement for prosecutors to prove the subjects of a threat were placed in fear or had to evacuate or take shelter. The legislation would also decrease the maximum prison sentence in these cases, unless the victims are minors.
“They create a lot of confusion and fear and anxiety, not just with students and teachers and school personnel, but with parents, too. And with law enforcement, because every threat has to be investigated,” Lee said.
Her bill would also scrap a legal distinction between carrying handguns and other firearms into a school building. Currently, bringing a firearm or a knife into a school is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of three years of incarceration.
Lee’s bill is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday in the judiciary committee. The Montgomery County school board will not be able to take a position on the legislation until March 22.
County Eateries Hit Big in Award Nominations
Montgomery County restaurants are making a big splash at this year’s upcoming Restaurant Association of Maryland Awards.
Woodmont Grill, an upscale restaurant in downtown Bethesda, was nominated for Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant.
Medium Rare, which opened last March in Woodmont Triangle, web as named as one of five finalists for Maryland’s Favorite New Restaurant, while Enzo Livia, chef at Rockville Italian restaurant Il Pizzico, was named a finalist for Maryland’s Chef of the Year.
In the Restaurateur of the Year category, two men with local roots were selected as finalists: Mike Isabella, who owns Bethesda’s Kapnos Kouzina and a string of D.C. restaurants, and Bob Giaimo, the co-founder of Silver Diner, which first opened in Rockville and now has locations in Maryland and Virginia.
The winners will be awarded at a Stars of the Industry Awards Gala on May 6 in Ocean City. Voting will be open until March 28 on the restaurant association’s website.