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Previews of the Maryland General Assembly

Americans have a thing for lawlessness.         If we had a mantra, it might go something like this: The fewer laws the better — except as they benefit us personally.     From the Pilgrims, Conquistadors and New Dutch to explorers, pioneers and cowboys — not to mention robber barons — we’ve made our own laws.     Nobody better tell us what to do.

People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights:

Circulating is now free

    Going to Annapolis?          Since cars claimed roads designed for horse traffic, parking has made visiting our capital city easier by boat than by car.     Where to put the vehicles that bring the city a million visitors each year has kept city planners scratching their heads.     Over the month of December, free parking and trolley make the city more welcoming, and its shopping and cultural opportunities more accessible.

Library patrons line up to check out Kindles and Nooks

Packing your books for your vacation adds pounds to your baggage and with airline fees, stress on your budget.     What would you say if you could pack more than 1,000 books in a container smaller than even today’s phone books?     Wannabe eReaders in Anne Arundel County said Yes, Please!     By noon on the first day of issue, Nov. 2, Anne Arundel library’s 200 portable readers had been checked out by eager patrons.

Road by road, broadband Internet is snaking your way

What are they doing on the side of the road?         They’re cutting trees and bush-hogging to clear a path. They’re trenching a couple of feet into the earth along roadways. They’re feeding bright orange conduit into those trenches. They’re threading fiber optic cable into the conduit. They’re bringing the world to your door, those men and women working inches from your speeding car.

Value a watch not for what it tells you but for what it says about you

What’s the value of time?         Told time, that is — not the priceless sort that keeps slipping into the past, flinging you into the future.     When every cell phone tells the time and more, who needs a watch, let alone a fine watch that costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars?

It’s harvest time for Genetically-Modified Organisms

This isn’t the movies. It’s real life. Surrounding you left and right. But you don’t see it — any more than Dr. Kate Lloyd and her team of Norwegian expeditionaries recognize The Thing.

From 800 pounds of trash rise the prospect of ‘an entirely green event’

Beneath the marketplace of dreams that is the U.S. Boat Shows runs a stream of waste.         That’s the conclusion of the first ever audit of the waste produced by one of the shows, this year’s Sail Boat Show.

Roadside advertising now brings a fine of $25 a sign

Winterizing! We come to your boat! must not have heard. Free advertising space is no longer free. Starting October 1, invasive signs posted along Maryland state highways were not only illegal but also fineable. Starting January 1, posters of invasive signs face a fine of $25 for each sign     The targeted signs are mostly commercial ones, said Valerie Burnette Edgar of the State Highway Administration.

The new Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail

The Chesapeake Beach Railway has always been a passage to altered states. It was laid a century ago to link the sweltering city of Washington with cooling Bay waters, breezes and panoply of fun. When cars pushed trains off the map, nature took back its right of way.