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 a member of the Appropriations Committee much of my annual work involves participating in oversight hearings on individual state agencies and helping to craft a balanced state budget. Other issues that I am regularly working on include school construction funding for Montgomery County, ensuring Attorney General Frosh's cash bail reform efforts are not thwarted by industry, and monitoring actions at the federal level that may harm the state.
As of now, I am planning to introduce eleven pieces of legislation this session:
Maryland Pension Climate Change Risk Act: A recent University of Maryland study highlighted ways our state pension fund could better incorporate risks related to climate change in its investments. The proposed legislation will require our pension fund to follow the study’s recommendations, which should help the pension fund’s long-term health.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Extension Act: The Maryland General Assembly entered the state into a successful regional cap and trade program (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or “RGGI”) for our power plants. If passed, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Extension Act would require any future Governor to seek a legislative change in order to exit the regional pact and avoid unilateral withdrawals as occurred in New Jersey under Governor Christie.
College Savings Tax Enhancement Act: Maryland provides a $2,500 tax deduction for contributions to the state 529 college savings plan. That deduction is in the bottom third in terms of value of those states that offer such tax incentives. My proposal would double the deduction except for the top two brackets.
Graduate Student Collective Bargaining Act: Last year I was approached by graduate students at the University of Maryland seeking to assert collective bargaining rights. The legislation would allow them to do so, as other state systems in peer states already permit.
Maryland Metro Funding Act: Along with Senator Brian Feldman, Delegate Erek Barron, and other colleagues, I am working on a package of bills to reform and fund the regional Metro system. The funding bill builds upon an idea proposed by the Governor to divert a portion of our Transportation Trust Fund into a special fund for Metro. The special fund would be additional, dedicated funding contingent on Virginia and the District of Columbia also providing adequate and dedicated funding. The Metro is the only significant transit system in the country without dedicated funding.
Metro Board Member Act: Funding alone is not the answer to Metro’s woes. Colleagues and I released a comprehensive reform proposal last summer. But one action we can take without waiting for the other jurisdictions is to place the Maryland Transportation Secretary on the Board of Metro to watch over the significant funds Maryland invests in Metro, while also bringing expertise, staff support, and political accountability.
Maryland Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Act: Many jurisdictions require employers to allow their employees to take advantage of an existing federal tax benefit for commuters. The Maryland Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Act would require certain Maryland employers to make this benefit available to their employees.
Red Light Camera Four Second Act: Maryland has a standard for how long a traffic signal should remain yellow, but many local jurisdictions are not abiding by it while using red light cameras to ticket drivers. The legislation will only allow red light camera ticketing when the state standard for traffic signals is met.
Online Electioneering Transparency and Accountability Act: Senator Craig Zucker and I are working on legislation with the State Board of Elections to ensure that social media advertisements obviously designed to affect elections include appropriate disclosures and other safeguards.
State Legislature Local Public Campaign Financing Act: I support a statewide public financing option for legislative races, as we currently have for state Gubernatorial races and local races in Montgomery County. My proposal—built on an idea brought to me by a constituent—would allow local governments to establish and fund public financing for state legislative races for districts in their counties.
I also have proposed my first ever “local” bill, which is legislation affecting only Montgomery County. I was approached by a community member about expanding the existing alcohol license for country clubs to allow some sales for off-site consumption tied to particular events, such as wine tastings. The legislation was already heard at our local bill hearing and will now go to a local county committee for consideration.
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 Ariana Kelly.
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.
Resources for the Legislation Session
If you have any questions about the work of the legislature, you can always email me (including by clicking reply to this email if you are receiving it from me). There are several other resources available to keep track of our work from the Maryland General Assembly and some third party sources.
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:
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:
The Daily Record is a paid site, but the twitter feed of their ace reporter, Bryan Sears (@bpsears) is a good one to follow.
For more local coverage, Bethesda Beat continues to be a good resource with occasional Annapolis coverage.
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences or an upcoming event, please email email@example.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.