Monday, October 24, 2016

Early Voting Starts This Week
            Thurs Oct 27 through Thurs Nov 3 – 8 AM to 8 PM
                        College Park Community Center – 5051 Pierce Ave., College Park
                        Curry Sports and Learning Center – 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover
These are the sites closest to District 47.  There are seven other sites in the county. 
For a complete list go to:         

The deadline for Absentee Ballots is November 1st at 8 PM.  If you want to request an absentee ballot, go to this web-site:

What’s on the Ballot?
Between the primary race last spring and present campaigns, we’ve all heard a lot from candidates for President; for U.S. Senate, (to fill Barbara Mikulski’s seat); and for U.S. Representative  (the seat Donna Edwards is leaving). It’s harder for most voters to feel they know how to vote in the “down-ballot” races, and the ballot questions can be particularly hard to understand, so I thought I’d try to address some of these.

o   Judges of the Circuit Court (4 positions, 5 candidates)
§  I’m voting for Dawson, Engel, Mason and Turner. People who I respect and know the different judges have recommended them to me.
o   Continue  the Terms of Two Appellate Judges (Yes or No)
§  I see no reason why not to continue their terms
o   Constitution Amendment on Special Election for Attorney General and Comptroller:
§  The Amendment changes the way we fill vacancies for Attorney General and Comptroller.
·         Under current law, the Governor gets to choose any replacement for these offices without voters ever having an opportunity to weigh in.
·         Under the Proposed Amendment:  The Governor has to choose a temporary replacement from the same party as the outgoing official. The state central committee of the same party as the outgoing official would submit a list of three names to the Governor for consideration. The appointee could serve a maximum of two years, and then there would be a special election at the next regularly scheduled election. Since special elections will only be held during regularly scheduled Congressional elections, we won't have to worry about low turnout and added cost to taxpayers.
·         I think this is a good amendment.  I believe that all vacancies should be filled by voters at the next regularly scheduled election (so as not to cost more money).  It’s the democratic way. It’s a good start: maybe we can then have legislation to fill all elected vacancies the same way.

o   County Referendums allowing the County to borrow money (Questions A, B, C, E, F) – These are all necessary referendums to enable the County to raise the money for construction on needed county projects. I recommend voting Yes.

o   Question D – This question is particularly controversial. I am not making a recommendation, but I want to give you some  information on the issue. The Prince George’s County Council is currently made up of 9 members, each elected for a term of 4 years, with a two-term limit. The Charter change proposed in Question D would add two at-large seats to the County Council. On the plus side, adding these at-large seats would incentivize regional cooperation because the at-large Council members would be looking out for the whole county. But on the minus side are two objections:  adding two Council seats would cost the County an estimated extra $1 million per year; and it also provides a way to circumvent the term limits, because Council members who are currently unable to run for office again would be able to run for the at-large seats for additional two terms. (As a comparison, Montgomery County has 4 at-large and 5 District seats, currently with no term limits, but voters are voting on a question to institute a three-term limit on council seats.)

The League of Women Voters held an educational forum on Question D in Bowie on October 8th.  The forum had a panel discussion with pro and con, questions from the audience and comments from civic leaders.  The forum can be viewed on the City of Bowie's YouTube site here:

o   County Question G – Enables the County Council to hire its own attorney if there is a conflict with the County Executive.  It makes sense, since they now have to use the attorney appointed by the County Executive.

o   Board of Education School Board  – If you are in our legislative district (47A), you may be in School Board district 3 or 4 (the Board of Education district map is at ). Elections for the four-year terms are in even-numbered years. In district 4, incumbent Patricia Eubanks is being challenged by Abel Olivo. I am not making any recommendations. (District 3 member Dinora Hernandez was elected in 2014).

You can click here to look at the sample ballot:

 ROCK the VOTE Rally

Date: Sunday, October 30th, 2016
Time: 3pm to 8pm
Location: 3701 Lawrence Street, Colmar Manor

Prince George’s Regional Hospital Gets Go Ahead   - The Maryland Health Care Commission voted unanimously to approve plans for a proposed regional medical center in Prince George’s County, the final step in a prolonged regulatory process that began more than three years ago.
            The Hospital will be at the Largo Town Center near the Largo Metro Station.
The $543 million project is a joint venture of Dimensions Healthcare Systems and the University of Maryland Medical System. More than $400 million in public funds will go to construction and hospital operations.
The regional medical center will anchor a revitalization of the county’s struggling health-care system so it can better serve residents, who have some of the highest rates of chronic disease in the state.
A ceremonial groundbreaking will likely take place next spring or early summer. The projected opening date for the new hospital is 2020.

Report Back from My Trip to Central America:  As I mentioned in a previous report, I was privileged to be part of a delegation of elected officials that went to Central America to look into questions that are important to our community here as well: Why are so many people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala coming to the US? How do they get here? What can be done to improve the conditions in these countries so that people will not have to flee?  On Nov 14th, I along with other participants will be giving a report on what we saw and heard. The trip was an eye-opener for me, and I’d like to share my experiences:

Monday November 14th
7:30 PM
Cottage City Hall
3820 40th Ave., Cottage City

SAVE THE DATE – Jimmy’s Pre-Session Holiday Celebration
Wednesday, Nov 30th, 6-8 pm
            Three Brothers Restaurant
4521 Kenilworth Avenue, Bladensburg
                        Join House of Delegates Majority Leader Anne Kaiser
                                Chair of Prince George’s County Senate Delegation Jim Rosapepe
                                Presumed Congressman-Elect Anthony Brown
            Hear about legislation I will be introducing
            Find about some of the critical issues in the upcoming legislative session
            Meet your neighbors and enjoy the good food at Three Brothers
            $5 for Residents of the 47th District
            (Authorized by Friends of Jimmy Tarlau, Jodi Beder, Treasurer)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

New State Laws Effective October 2016

Last session we passed a lot of bills.   Here are some of the laws that go in effect on Oct. 1.

Drunk Driving Reduction Act/ Noah’s Law (SB 945): The Motor Vehicle Administration will require people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drivers found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher to use the Ignition Interlock System Program for a specified time. This bill was initiated after Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta was struck and killed by a drunk driver. A sticker honoring the officer will be on each interlock device.

Death or Injury by Vehicle (SB0160, HB157): The law increases penalties for offenders who commit vehicular manslaughter who have been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol previously.  Offenders can now face up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

Motor Vehicle Insurance — Carrying Proof of Coverage (SB544, HB 0720): This law requires drivers to have a current insurance identification card — paper, plastic or electronic — with them or in their vehicle, or face a $50 fine starting July 1.

Testimony by Perjurer (SB150, HB237): People, who have been convicted of perjuring themselves, or lying under oath, will no longer be prohibited from testifying in court.

Providing Alcohol to Underage Drinkers (HB409): This law prohibits a person from allowing an underage individual to consume alcohol if they should have known that individual would drive under the influence.

Justice Reinvestment Act (SB1005): This law will keep more nonviolent offenders and minor drug offenders from going to prison or staying in prison for a long time. It expands drug treatment in the state health department and treatment for substance abuse and mental health through the corrections department, including risk and needs assessments to determine risks of reoffending. The law also calls for plans for more inmate rehabilitation.

Child Abuse and Neglect (SB310, HB245): Anyone involved in an investigation of child abuse or neglect must report suspicions of another individual knowingly failing to report child abuse to the appropriate board, agency, institution or facility.

Criminal Law-Stalking (SB278/HB155): This law expands the definition of stalker from inciting physical fears or threats to include causing emotional distress.

Pretrial Release-Prior Crime of Violence (SB603): A District Court commissioner may not authorize the pretrial release of defendants who have been convicted of a crime of violence or with a weapon.

Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB 481):  This legislation prohibits employers from paying employees of one gender identity at a lesser rate than other employees. The bill does not allow employers to prohibit employees from discussing or disclosing salaries.

Minimum Wage for the Disabled (SB 417): Starting Oct. 1, over four years, this law eventually prohibits any employer from paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities as currently allowed.

Student Journalists (SB 764): Expands the rights of freedom of speech and of the press to student journalists in public elementary or secondary schools or public institutions of higher education.

Consumer Protection Provisions (SB 427): Establishes criminal and civil penalties for private career schools and for-profit institutions that enroll students in programs intended to lead to employment in fields that require a license or certification in Maryland, but that do not meet state requirements for those licenses or certifications.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (SB 323): This bill repeals the termination date of the current requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2006 levels by 2020 and requires the State to reduce GHG emissions by 40% from 2006 levels by 2030.

Pollinator Protection Act — Bees (SB 198/HB 211): Bans the sale of certain pesticides believed to kill bees, unless applied by a certified applicator.

Maryland Income Tax Refunds – Warrant Intercept Program (SB 425/HB 390): If an individual has an outstanding arrest warrant, county officials may request that the comptroller withhold that person’s income tax refund. The state must also study the program to ensure there is no racial bias.

Gaming – Home Games (HB 127): Anyone 21 years or older can bet on home card games or mahjong as long as the games do not occur more than once a week and are played with friends. There is a $1,000 limit per 24-hour period and no fees may be charged.

Open Meetings Act – Agendas (HB 217): Agendas for public body meetings must be made available to the public at the time of the notice of the meeting or at least 24 hours before the meeting.

(MY LEGISLATION) Homeowners Property Tax Credit Program  HB 378 – Requires the State to contact people who are eligible for the homeowners property tax credit. (Right now only 15% of those eligible apply for the credit!)

(MY LEGISLATION)– Dissemination of Voter Information Material – Multifamily Units – HB 1127 Allows material to be distributed in a common area of an apartment building or condominium.

Progress On Double Pole Issue

            For the past two years I have been working on the issue of “double poles.”  Double poles are duplicate utility poles that exist when the electric company puts in a new pole and the old pole is not taken out.  Two years ago when I took office there were thousands of these double poles in our neighborhoods; they are an eyesore and, in some cases, hazardous.  In 2015 I initiated legislation on this issue that resulted in a study by the Public Service Commission on the issue and what should be done about it.  This week the PSC issued an order implementing  a National Joint Utilities Notification System (NJUNS) that would insure that the utilities know when a new pole is in place, when to transfer their wires from the old pole to the new pole, and when to remove the old pole.  Hopefully this will make the removal of duplicate poles done in a more expeditious matter.

Important State Wide Referendum 

HB 260 amends the ‪Maryland constitution this year but it must be approved by voters this November. The Amendment changes the way we fill vacancies for Attorney General and Comptroller.

Under current law, the Governor gets to choose any replacement for these offices without voters ever having an opportunity to weigh in.

Proposed Amendment:  The Governor has to choose a temporary replacement from the same party as the outgoing official. The state central committee of the same party as the outgoing official would submit a list of three names to the Governor for consideration. The appointee could serve a maximum of two years, until the next regularly scheduled election, when there will also be a special election for that position. Since special elections will only be held during regularly scheduled Congressional elections, we won't have to worry about low turnout and added cost to taxpayers.

I think this is a good Amendment.  I believe that all vacancies should be filled by voters at the next regularly scheduled election (so as not to cost more money).  It’s the Democratic way.  This is a good start and then maybe we can have other legislation to fill all elected vacancies the same way.
The Full Text of the bill is available:

Free Health Screenings

Several CVS stores in your district are hosting free health screenings for the public this fall as part of CVS Health’s “Project Health” initiative.

In addition to information about the health care exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act, participants will receive free screenings, on-site consultations with bilingual (English and Spanish) nurse practitioners or physician assistants, referrals to low- or no-cost medical facilities, and one-on-one medication reviews with CVS pharmacists.

The events will be held at the following CVS stores:
3611 Bladensburg Rd Colmar Manor - Friday, October 14, 2016, 2PM-6PM
7041 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy Hyattsville – Saturday, December 3, 2016, 2PM-6PM

Local Business Is Now Selling
Sweet Potato Deserts at Starbucks

DC Sweet Potato Cake ( ) is a local area business.  The current President, April Richardson, has lived in Cheverly for many years.  They used to have a retail shop in Mount Rainier.  They just recently finalized a contract at Starbucks and will now be selling their cupcakes at Starbucks throughout out area.  If you go to a Starbucks, make sure you try one of their cupcakes.  You’ll be helping a local business prosper.
SAVE THE DATE –  Wed. Nov 30th

My Pre-Session Holiday Celebration

            Three Brothers Restaurant - 4521 Kenilworth Ave. Bladensburg
                6 to 8 PM
                Join       House of Delegates Majority Leader Anne Kaiser
                               Chair of Prince George’s County Senate Delegation – Jim Rosapepe
                               Presumed Congressman Elect – Anthony Brown
                Hear about legislation I will be introducing
                Find about some of the critical issues in the upcoming legislative session
                Meet your neighbors and enjoy the good food at Three Brothers
                $5 for Residents of the 47th District  -
                Additional contributions from supporters are welcome
                (Authorized by Friends of Jimmy Tarlau, Jodi Beder, Treasurer)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Trip to Central America

              Over 25% of the residents of District 47 come from Central America.  Last month I visited El Salvador, Honduras, and the Mexican-Guatemalan border as part of a national delegation of elected officials exploring the realities that are driving migration from these countries as well as learning about the conditions that await those who are deported back to Central America.

               We met with top government officials in El Salvador and Honduras, had over 15 meetings with civic associations working with people migrating, and talked to many individuals who were fleeing those countries and also those who had been deported from Mexico and the US back to these countries.  At the Guatemalan-Mexican border we toured a detention center where Central Americans are held and then deported back to the countries they were fleeing.
               It was an eye-opening trip for me.  I think the most important thing I discovered was that people are fleeing El Salvador and Honduras because of the violence and extreme poverty in those countries, not just for economic opportunity.   I talked to numerous people whose family members had been killed and had to leave or face death themselves.  Many people being deported from Mexico back to those Central American countries were trying again to emigrate: they feel they cannot afford to remain in their home country.

             We cannot solve the immigration with greater border security.  People who are dealing with death threats will leave those situations no matter how difficult it is to emigrate.   I believe that we have to figure out how to help improve conditions in those countries so that people can live safe and healthy lives.  The United States needs to spend less money on military aid and more money to assist development in Central America. 

             I hope to make a presentation with the other delegates from Maryland at a later time.  I will make sure that everyone is invited. 

Expungement Clinic
          Date: Saturday, September 24th, 2016
         Time: 10am to 2pm
         Location: 4009 Wallace Road, North Brentwood MD 20722

Do you have a criminal record that is affecting your possibility to obtain a job?
Join Senator Victor Ramirez & N. Brentwood Mayor Patrella Robinson
For a session with MD lawyers to determine if any of your charges qualify for expungement.


             The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is designed to help develop 11th and 12th grade students into leaders and Community Trustees. During the program year, participants receive extensive leadership training and have access to valuable networking opportunities with both public and private stakeholders. In addition, participants discuss current issues and participate in activities designed to enhance their understanding of Prince George’s County and the Region. The program culminates with Emerging Leaders attending and being recognized at the Annual Leadership Prince George’s Graduation and Leadership Recognition Dinner. Graduation from the ELP Program requires attendance and participation in all scheduled workshops and activities during the 2016-2017 program year.

Application deadline is September 15th.  Click here:for an application.