You have probably heard by now that Governor Hogan has been diagnosed with cancer. I wish him a speedy recovery and send my best wishes to him and his family as they go through this challenging time together.
The legislature only meets in Annapolis for 90 days a year and I am often asked, what do legislators do the rest of the year?
First, most of us have other jobs. The salary for legislators is not insignificant, but it is also not enough to live in our area with a family. I work as an attorney. Of course, I also try to spend time with my wife and son.
Second, although the legislature only convenes for 90 days (plus the occasional special session), the work of legislators is 365 days a year. I spend my time outside of the legislative session on:
Many of you have heard that the Gazette is no longer publishing. I believe this is terrible news for our County. It will only increase the disconnect people feel from their state and local government as coverage of those issues declines even further. Two good resources for news about state government are Center Maryland and Maryland Reporter. Both produce free daily news summaries of state government and politics. For a more local perspective, try Bethesda Beat.
As mentioned above, between legislative sessions the committees of the House of Delegates hold occasional meetings on important topics. I serve on the Appropriations Committee which has jurisdiction over higher education. We recently met for a briefing on college affordability and aide, particularly focusing on the state's Educational Assistance Grant and Guaranteed Access Grant and potential reforms to improve those programs.
The state's capital budget recently become law. The capital budget provides state funding for buildings, infrastructure, and other construction projects. Included in this year's capital budget are state bond funds for two District 16 projects: Josiah Henson Special Park and Graceful Growing Together Community Center (the links are to Gazette articles and I do not know how long they will be available).
The Governor recently announced that the Purple Line will go forward. As of this writing, the details of the precise cost savings proposed by Governor Hogan have not been shared. We do know that headways (the time between trains) will be increased which means less cars need to be purchased and less facilities for those cars will be necessary. An additional contribution from Montgomery and Prince George's Counties is also being requested, the size of which is unknown as I type this.
Recent news about our local Metro system has been concerning to say the least. The Federal Transit Administration issued a safety audit highlighting several serious safety lapses. This comes on top of a fiscal management audit that has still not been resolved. In the coming months, there will be additional reports by the National Transportation Safety Board and Government Accountability Office. On the more positive side, the Metro board has voted to eliminate the turnbacks at Grosvenor station. This means that all trains go to the end of the line at Shady Grove starting in 2018, which is great news for Montgomery County.
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District 16 Notes
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