The 441st session of the Maryland General Assembly convenes today. Although the legislature only meets for 90 days, as your Delegate I work year-round to represent each of you and our district. But the next 90 days will be a sprint of legislative productivity in Annapolis.
I will be called upon to consider and vote on numerous legislative issues during the session. Below are some of the major issues on my own Annapolis agenda for the year. Many of these proposed bills will be the subject of future emails. As I have often explained, only a part of my job is working on bills that I author. Much of my work involves oversight efforts and assisting others with their legislative efforts.
In particular, as Chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation I spend significant time working on legislation introduced by my colleagues that only affect Montgomery County--known as local bills--and advocating for Montgomery County on big ticket items, such as education spending. As the new Chair of the Transportation & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I will also spend significant time on budget and oversight issues for those programs.
As of now, I am planning to introduce eleven pieces of legislation this session:
Access to Vaccines Act: Many institutions of higher education appropriately require certain vaccinations for admissions to ensure public health. For those in families that opt-out of vaccinations, the legislation will enact a "mature minor" policy that exists in many other states to allow those under 18 who want to be vaccinated to do so. This issue was brought to me by a constituent last year.
Electric Bus Transition Act: Maryland has ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals and transitioning the approximately 800 bus state fleet to all electric will help achieve that goal.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure for Multi-Family Units Act: This issue was brought to me by a constituent who was having difficulty installing electric vehicle charging equipment in their building. The bill would create a set of rules for such installations. The same bill passed the House, but not the Senate, in 2019.
County Tax Fairness Act: A Supreme Court decision found that counties in Maryland were inappropriately levying the local income tax on out-of-state income. Refunds were issued by the state but the counties--through their taxpayers--now owe the state the cost of those refunds. The bill will address that issue for the counties but will not affect the taxpayers inappropriately taxed, but already repaid.
Pedestrian Access Act: One of the number one constituent concerns I receive involves pedestrian access around construction sites. The bill will require the State Highway Administration to promulgate specific rules and policies to maintain pedestrian access around construction sites along state roads.
Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Act: I am once again introducing legislation to let graduate students at the University of Maryland assert collective bargaining rights, something other higher education systems in peer states already permit. The legislation passed the House in 2019 but not the Senate.
Maryland State Agency Transparency Act: Building off of successful legislation to webstream State Board of Elections meetings, the legislation would improve transparency by requiring other quasi-independent agencies such as the Maryland Transportation Authority; Maryland Stadium Authority; and others to webstream their meetings.
Transportation Carbon Fund Act: Maryland is part of a developing multi-state pact called the Transportation & Climate Initiative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The bill would address how any revenues from the program could be spent.
Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act Alterations: The bill would make alterations to the 2018 dedicated funding for Metro bill including changing the state source of the funds; removing an arbitrary operating subsidy cap that is not working as intended; and altering study provisions of the bill.
Firearms Dealer Safety Act: Working with gun safety advocates, the bill would impose safety and security requirements on gun dealers to reduce thefts from such dealers.
Summer Meals Waiver Act: Because of changes at the federal level, Maryland needs to apply for various waivers to continue to offer summer meals to impoverished children. The legislation would require the state to apply for such waivers on a consolidated and streamlined basis to improve access for those in need.
Again, these issues and bills are just a small sampling of how my time will be spent over the next 90 days. I will be sure to keep you posted but please contact me anytime. The office phone number is 301-858-3649 and my email address is Delegate.M.Korman@house.state.md.us (or just reply to this email to reach me). If you are in Annapolis, you can visit me in Room 210 of the House Office Building. I share an office suite with my District 16 colleague, Delegate Sara Love.
You can always keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
Maryland General Assembly
The Maryland General Assembly website has many great resources if you are interested in following our work over the next 90 days. I will highlight just a few:
- The general schedule is available here.
- You can look up legislation and track its progress here. Every bill introduced by the bill introduction deadline is guaranteed a hearing and before the hearing, a fiscal and policy note about the bill will be published.
- You can view the Committee Schedule, which will be regularly updated, here.
Third Party Sources
I also recommend a few different news resources for those of you interested in the legislature. In addition to the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, there are three websites that specialize in coverage of Annapolis:
- Maryland Reporter: http://marylandreporter.com/
- Maryland Matters: https://marylandmatters.org/
- Center Maryland: http://www.centermaryland.org/
The Daily Record is a paid site, but the twitter feed of their ace reporter, Bryan Sears (@bpsears) is a good one to follow. There are also a few good podcasts that cover the legislative session including the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Conduit Street podcast. I was on A Miner Detail, another locally focused podcast, on Sunday to discuss the legislative session, which you can listen to here.
For more local coverage, Bethesda Beat continues to be a good resource with occasional Annapolis coverage.
And mark your calendar for Saturday, January 18th, when the District 16 Democratic Club will host a "send-off" for the District 16 Team as we commence the annual legislative session. The meeting will be held at 2:00pm at the Bannockburn Community Clubhouse. Please note that this is a change in date and time from a prior email.