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Since my last newsletter, the Governor has taken final action on legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session. The Governor signed into law or allowed to pass into law without his signature the vast majority of bills. He did veto five bills:
Maryland has retained its Triple A bond rating from the three bond rating agencies. Not an exciting topic, but this is outside confirmation that our state spending, debt, and pension practices are working, at least from the perspective of the markets we borrow money from for our major capital investments. You can read the reports from each agency here.
The state Office of Legislative Audits is charged with auditing each local school district every six years. The audit for Montgomery County Public Schools was recently released.
The Little Falls Library and Davis Library will both close this summer for six months for renovations. Little Falls will close on July 9 and Davis will close on July 16. Approximately $700,000 of state funds from the Public Library Capital Grant Program was obtained in 2016 for these projects. The KIDS Museum at the Davis Library will remain open.
Earlier this year, the State Highway Administration (SHA) agreed to require permittees requesting sidewalk closures along state roads to provide public notice, matching county law. SHA provided misinformation in response to a reporter, but rest assured that permittees are required to follow these notice rules for sidewalk closures. Moreover, SHA plans to review its own procedures for when it closes sidewalks.
My colleague Erek Barron and I wrote an article for a local blog regarding some reform ideas for Metro. You can read the piece on the Seventh State blog.
WMATA's SafeTrack program--an effort to squeeze three years of WMATA capital improvements into one year--has begun. Here are three things to know:
The federal government is requiring Maryland, Virginia, and DC to create a new independent commission to oversee safety issues at Metro. The three jurisdictions have been meeting for months and have issued a draft proposal. I have many questions and concerns with the draft legislation--which will undergo many changes before being passed. I am working with other legislators in Maryland and the region on the proposal which must be passed in each jurisdiction in identical form. Ultimately, the federal government is threatening Metro funding if the commission is not set-up next year, but many of us are trying to create the best product possible.
District 16 Notes
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