Monday, December 11, 2017

Preparing for Annapolis and Scholarship Information

Preparing for Annapolis

Next month Delegate Fennell and I will return to Annapolis for our fourth legislative session.  It will be the last year of our four-year term.  We will be running for re-election in 2018 as a team for another four year term.

The upcoming legislative session will be full of real challenges.  In this and upcoming newsletters I will discuss some of the issues that we will be working on in Annapolis.

Over-Riding Governor Vetoes

One of the first actions we will take will be to over-ride the Governor’s veto of two pieces of legislation we passed in our last session:
The first bill was the Paid Sick Leave Act which would have covered 700,000 Maryland workers.  It would give employees in business of more than 15 people five days of paid sick leave a year.  It was good legislation for working people and we want to make sure it becomes law next year. 

The second bill was the Ban the Box Act.  This bill would have would have barred colleges in the state from asking about criminal history on admissions applications.  It is important to note that the bill would not stop colleges from doing background checks on perspective students. The legislation would allow colleges to reject applicants with criminal records as long as they do not “automatically or unreasonably restrict” admission based on that factor.  Moreover, schools could develop policies restricting such students from campus housing or certain academic programs, such as pharmacy studies and law enforcement. 
Planning An Aggressive Agenda

 I, along with others, will be pushing an aggressive agenda.   Some of our priorities will be:
  • increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour;
  • passing legislation to make community colleges tuition free (funded by closing corporate loopholes);
  • increasing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and passing legislation to make sure that our citizens are not kept in jail beyond their sentence just because they do not have the correct immigrant papers; and,
  • banning the sale of bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas mass shooting to turn a semiautomatic rifle into a rapidly firing weapon.
I will talk about more of the hot issues to be debated in Annapolis in future reports.
Some of My Initiatives – Part I
             I have been busy working on legislation that I plan to introduce in January.  Here are a few of my bills.  I’ll summarize some others in the next newsletter

1 – De-coupling the Maryland Estate Tax from the Federal Estate Tax
One piece of legislation which I am preparing to introduce will make sure that the Maryland estate tax is not tied to the Congressional plan that will raise the exemption on the estate tax to $11 million.  If we do not separate ourselves from what is being done in Congress, Maryland will lose $50 -$100 million.  This will affect only 80 estates in all of Maryland.  These estates belong to the wealthiest one tenth of one per cent of the people in our state.

2 –  Informing Homeowners About the Homestead Tax Rebate
When I am visiting people in their homes, I am finding a good percentage of folks who are not receiving the Homestead Tax Rebate.  You could be losing a lot of money if you are not getting the rebate.  The Homestead Credit is for every owner-occupied residence in Maryland, no matter the household income.
The Homestead Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage.  Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10% or less each year. You can view a listing of homestead caps for each local government here
The Homestead Credit does not limit the market value of the property – it is  a credit calculated on any assessment increase exceeding 10% (or the lower cap enacted by the local governments) from one year to the next.  In other words, the homeowner pays no property tax on the market value increase which is above the limit.

The problem is that in 2009, the government  found that some properties that were not owner-occupied were getting the credit, so they made everybody fill out a one-time application for the credit.  Some people did not apply and they have not been receiving the tax credit.  I believe up to 20% of the homeowners in our County do not receive the homestead tax rebate.

My legislation would require the Department of Assessment and Taxation every three years to send a reminder notice to all those homeowners who are eligible and have not applied for the rebate. 

3 – Expanding Overtime Coverage in Maryland

The current salary level for people who are administrative or supervisory employees has been in place since 2004. The current level is $12.25 per hour or $23,600. My legislation would increase it to $17.50 per hour or $700 per week. That means any employee who earns under that amount will be paid overtime, or time-and-a-half, for working more than 40 hours a week. Businesses with revenue of less than $500,000 annually would be exempt from the new rules. 

4 – Expanding Tuition Debt Credit to Graduate Loans 

In 2016 we passed legislation that gave a new tax credit available for Maryland residents who incurred at least $20,000 in total undergraduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt during the tax year for which you are applying. Unfortunately, it did not include graduate debt which is how people accumulate hundreds of thousands of student debt.  My bill would not increase the amount appropriated for the tax credit ($5 million) but would enable people with graduate debt to be eligible.  There will be more people applying but it will now include those with the highest student debt.
School Year 2018-2019 Scholarship Applications  Now Available!

My scholarship is now available for my constituents living in District 47A, who are attending or will be attending a Maryland undergraduate, graduate, or professional school during school year 2018-2019.

You can print out an application at my web-site:  or contact me at  and request one by email.  This year, my scholarship application is due Friday, April 13th.
District 47’s Holiday Party & Toy Drive Thursday, Dec 21st

7 PM – 11 PM

Mexico Lindo Restaurant

5652 Ann
apolis Rd, Bladensburg

Music by DJ Mike G

NO CHARGE – But Bring a New Unwrapped Toy!

Toys will be donated to St. Anne’s Center for Children, Youth and Families
Supreme Court Won’t Review Maryland’s Law Banning Sales of ‘Assault Weapons’
The Supreme Court declined to review a Maryland law banning the sale of semiautomatic guns with certain military-style features, similar to weapons used in recent mass shootings.

Maryland’s ban on “assault” weapons was passed after the 2012 mass shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.  The majority opinion refers to the banned firearms as “weapons of war” that the court says are most useful in the military.  The Court held that the Second

Amendment provides absolutely zero protection to the most popular long guns in the country and standard-capacity ammunition magazines that number in the tens of millions.”

Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws.
Asking For Support
Diana Fennell and I are running for re-election next year.  If you are satisfied with the kind of representation that I’ve demonstrated, please give me your support.  It costs a lot of money to run for election and we will not be able to accept donations once the Legislative Session begins on January 10th through April 10th.

Checks can be made out to:
Friends of Jimmy Tarlau, 4213 34th Street, Mount Rainier, MD 20712 or by going to the web-site: 

Authorized by Friends of Jimmy Tarlau,  Jodi Beder Treasurer