Happy holidays from my family to yours. I hope you and your loved ones are able to get a bit of a break and can enjoy the holiday season. Scroll down for information about the District 16 send-off and my legislative update.
On Wednesday January 4 at 7:30pm, the District 16 team will be holding an online legislative town hall send-off in advance of the legislative session. If you are interested, please register here: bit.ly/d16-01-04
As House Chair of the Spending Affordability Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee, I spend a lot of time on state budget issues. The state budget somewhat reflects the overall health of our economy and tells us how much we can contribute to the common good of public education, parks, transportation, and other government services. Last week, the state Board of Revenue Estimates released their updated forecasts, which still show robust revenues but includes the consensus expectation of a recession next year.
The Spending Affordability Committee also met to issue our budget recommendations for next year. You can watch the meeting here and read the report we adopted here. To summarize the report's recommendations, its recommends that we maintain a 10% rainy day fund and a $350m fund balance (the amount of excess cash in the bank account after we are done budgeting), proposes a robust capital (construction) budget in keeping with our prior year plans, and calls for increased attention to restaffing state govt.
You can hear me discuss the state budget on the I Hate Politics Podcast here.
The non-partisan Department of Legislative Services releases "Issue Papers" each year to set forth some of the matters that the General Assembly may take up during the next legislative session. You can read the 2023 legislative session Issue Papers here.
Each year the Montgomery County Delegation takes up local and bi-county legislation in advance of the legislative session. The 2023 session bills are available here.
One of the bills was put forth by me--along with my District 16 colleagues--involves procurement policy in the Village of Friendship Heights, which is in state law. The bill was suggested to me by a constituent to allow Friendship Heights increased authority for procurement in emergency circumstances and increases the threshold for competitive bidding for the first time in decades. You can watch me testify on the bill here.
There are many other important bills the Montgomery County Delegation is considering but some of the highest profile involve County Park & Planning, which is part of the bi-county Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. One bill would create a task force on the structure of Park and Planning and whether it should be moved within the executive branch. The other impacts who appoints the Planning Board Chair and the rules they have to follow. They will both be subject to further consideration and debate by the Delegation.TRANSPORTATION UPDATE
The Montgomery County Delegation recently sent a letter to the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or Metro) opposing efforts to restore the Red Line turnbacks, which would reduce service to Montgomery County. You can read the letter here and some local coverage here. I note that following the letter, the Metro budget proposal for the next fiscal year was released and does not include the turnbacks.
In response to the death of Enzo Alvarenga and building off of the MD-187 (Old Georgetown Road) corridor needs analysis, the State Highway Administration (SHA) has extended bike lanes as part of a repaving projects to cover Ryland Drive to Tilden Lane. This has proven controversial and although I am personally interested in seeing if these lanes are viable, I have been relaying implementation concerns to SHA. The agency will be doing a post-implementation study to measure the impact on road traffic once the lanes have been installed for a period of time. Part of the benefit of the bike lanes being put in as part of repaving is that they are relatively easy to uninstall if the data warrants it.
Part of the Marriott Headquarters project in downtown Bethesda involved Marriott paying for daily use of parking spots in Garage 11 (the parking garage on Woodmont across from the Marriott Headquarters). Because of telework, many of those spots are sitting empty during the day. Marriott has worked with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, my office, and others to pilot the opening of some of these unused spots for public access during the day. Learn more here.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.