Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Legislative Update and Survey Results

House Democrats Release Budget that Restores Cuts in Education

The Maryland Democratic House leadership released a budget that restored many of the cuts made by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in his first budget proposal.

The full House is expected to take its first vote on its changes to the budget next week, after the House Appropriations Committee votes on the proposal Friday.

The plan restores cuts made to Medicaid reimbursements, K-12 education funding, and state employees’ salaries, and restores Medicaid coverage for pregnant women.

In order to restore some of the funding for the programs, the General Assembly is proposing a plan that would delay a cut in the state’s payments to the employee pension plan, and shift money from programs that are over funded.

Repeal of the Storm Management Fee (otherwise known as the Rain Tax) Voted Down in Committee

The Storm Management Fee was passed in 2013 by the Maryland General Assembly. The state bill was passed in order to implement the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.  In the federal act there is a federal requirement that states take active measures to reduce runoff that pollutes rivers, streams, and, in the case of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay.   The Maryland law applies to the 10 largest jurisdictions in the State: the ones with the largest amount of impervious surface, contributing the most to water pollution in Maryland.  Those counties were authorized to charge a fee to pay for projects that would mitigate runoff to the bay.

With or without the fee the counties and the state still have to take the active measures to meet the Federal requirement.  The Storm Management Fee was only the means to fund the projects.  Governor Hogan campaigned on repealing the Fee.  Unfortunately his position had more to do with rhetoric than policy because the projects still have to be funded.  The House and Senate Committees voted down the repeal in Committee. The current law gives counties the flexibility they need to reduce or even eliminate their fees if they want to, as some already have.

House passes bill to reform Civil Forfeiture Rules 

A bill that would reform Maryland’s civil forfeiture policies, restricting the state’s ability to keep confiscated property and requiring police to report seizures, passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday. Maryland law enforcement agencies have gained millions of dollars in recent years from civil forfeiture, through which police seize money and property allegedly related to illegal drug operations. But the practice has been widely criticized because it applies regardless of whether the property’s owner is convicted of a crime, and because it places the burden on owners to defend their right to the property in court.


  Survey Results

1. Should Prince George's County Allow Liquor Store Sales on Sunday?         

Yes               65.5%
No                28.8%
Undecided      5.6%
2. Should we allow ex-felons to vote while they are still on parole?

Yes                 60.7%
No                  27.0%
Undecided      12.4%
3. Should marijuana be legalized?  

Yes                 70.2%
No                  19.1%
Undecided      10.7%
4. Do you support the Pollinator Protection Act? 

Yes                  87.4%
No                     0.0
Undecided      12.6%
5. Should we raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.00?        

Yes                 74.1%
No                  14.9%
Undecided      10.9%

Senator Barbara Mikulski’s Retirement will Make for an Interesting Political Race in 2016

Senator Barbara Mikulski recently announced that she will be retiring from the US Senate.  Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Congressman Chris Van Hollen haven already announced they will be running to replace her.  Some of the other people who are considering running for her seat are Congressman John Sarbanes, Congressman John Delaney, Congressman Elijah Cummings and a few others.  Do you have a preference?  Click on the attached survey and let me know:


My Bills

So far I have had hearings on all my bills.  I do not think many of them will pass this year because they are controversial, and sometimes it takes two to three years to get a bill passed.  You can watch the video on the testimony:

Revolving Door Legislation


Tax Bracket Bill


Double Pole Legislation


Tree Bill


Candidate Access Bill