Expanding Energy Storage in Maryland
The legislation is the fruition of significant work with stakeholders including energy storage industry participants, electric utilities, government agencies, and environmental organizations. If passed, the study would examine what regulatory barriers need to be removed to increase the deployment of storage devices in Maryland and what market incentives are necessary to encourage energy storage. Several other states, including California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, are ahead of us in energy storage, but Maryland is uniquely positioned to benefit from this technology because of the research being done in the state already. You can watch the hearing online. I also had the opportunity to address the Maryland Clean Energy Center summit regarding energy storage.
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A legislative initiative I have not previously discussed in my updates is compensating our state employees in leap years. Because of the manner by which the state calculates pay, our employees appear to receive a pay reduction in leap years. In several other states a pay adjustment is applied to avoid the same problem. I introduced legislation to address this issue in Maryland. The fiscal analysis of the legislation demonstrated that a pay adjustment is not currently affordable, so the legislation has been amended to provide an extra personal leave day for state employee sin leap years. Our state employees currently have their cost of living adjustments (" COLAs") on the budgetary chopping block after years of foregoing COLAs, increment increases, and contributing more to their retirement since the Great Recession. An extra personal leave day is a small giveback the state can provide. The legislation will be considered on the House floor this week.
Prior to my election, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Firearm Safety Act, one of the most expansive gun safety laws in the country. The Act included limitations on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law and found that such weapons and magazines were outside the ambit of Second Amendment protection.
Maryland had retained its AAA bond rating from all three major ratings agencies. The AAA bond rating is valuable because it allows the state to borrow money at a low rate of interest, which we use for construction programs such as schools. You can read the rating agency reports on the State Treasurer's website. The reports provide a lot of information about the state of Maryland's economy, risk factors, and fiscal management practices.
The Maryland State Highway Administration will begin work this week that will extend until mid-April on Old Georgetown Road (MD 187) between Beech Avenue and Oakmont Avenue. To safely complete this work, crews are permitted to close one lane in either direction of MD 187, weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Crews will close the sidewalk on southbound MD 187 within the one-half mile project phase limits and direct sidewalk users to use the safest crossings within the work zone on the opposite side of the road. This portion of sidewalk will remain closed until all work during this work phase is complete and it is safe for all sidewalk users. The sidewalk on southbound MD 187 from Oakmont Avenue to Center Drive will close weekdays at 7 a.m. and reopen daily at 3 p.m. where the telecommunication relocation work will take place.
As I mentioned last week, Congressman Delaney has introduced legislation to reform Metro. The Congressman came to discuss his proposal with the WMATA-Metro Work Group last week.
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