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Our schools are overcrowded and the need is real as our school population continues to grow by approximately 2,500 students--one high school worth of students--per year. My local elementary school just had an addition added, yet the Kindergarten playground is being removed for more portables. Many of us ran for the state legislature on the platform plank of bringing more state school construction dollars to the county. And we have. The chart below shows the increase in state school construction funding dollars for Montgomery County over the past few years, representing a 50% increase. The success is thanks to the work of many different people at the county and state level. But there is still a lot more work to do and bar graphs are cold comfort when your kids' school is overcrowded, but we are chipping away.
I joined nine other legislators from Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in writing and releasing a report on Metro reform and funding entitled “Metro Reform: A Maryland Approach.” The report is an outgrowth of the work of the WMATA-Metro Work Group--which I co-founded and co-chair in Annapolis--and many meetings I have had in the region about what is needed to improve Metro. The report comprises a series of reform proposals to improve the Metro system. Included in the report are:
Each county in the state submits a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation regarding local priorities for state transportation funding. Supposedly, these letters do a lot to shape the annual update to the state's capital transportation plan. Montgomery County's recent letter reflects current priorities in District 16 including funding for Metro; safety improvements on state roads, such as River Road; transportation improvements in C&O Canal National Historic Park; and 270/495 improvements. You can read the letter here.
A recent request for data from a federal election integrity commission has elicited concern in over 40 states. I joined a letter to our elections administrator urging her to comply with state law and not release the information. The Maryland Attorney General concurred with that view and the State Board of Elections has declined to release the data. Here is a link to the letter we sent.
Many constituents have written the District 16 team concerned about large health insurance rate hikes currently pending before the Maryland Insurance Administration. We wrote a letter to the Maryland Insurance Administration expressing our concerns. Frankly, many of the drivers of insurance cost increases are beyond control of the state or private insurers. But there are areas the Maryland Insurance Administration can scrutinize carefully such as how the insurers are planning for federal policy changes, their plans to contribute to reserves, projected morbidity rates, and more. You can read the letter here.
The proposed federal budget appears dead on arrival in Congress, but there are still likely to be reductions with undivided government in DC. For Maryland, this has a double effect: we lose out on programs and our overall economy is slowed. The Maryland Center on Economic Policy released a preliminary analysis on the effect of budget cuts on the state.
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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