The big news in Annapolis over the past week is the release of the Governor's budget. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am on the committee that will review and amend the budget as it moves forward through the legislative process. More information about the budget is below.
Closer to home, the County Executive has asked the state legislature to pass enabling legislation that would allow—but not require—the County to set up an independent transit authority. This is a complicated bill and I encourage you to learn more about what he is requesting at a website the County set up. The site includes a copy of the bill. There is a hearing in Rockville on Friday evening at 6pm. Bill hearings this time of year are typically held in Annapolis but in order to give County residents an increased opportunity to participate in the process, the hearing was moved to Rockville. Details about the hearing and how to sign up to testify are available here. Following the hearing, the bill will be referred to a subcommittee for further study.
The Governor introduced his budget last week. In Maryland, the budget process is gubernatorial-driven. Unlike Congress, the state legislature may only cut from the Governor's budget and not increase funding. Like any large organization, the budget for state government is complex. You can review the budget here. You can also watch the Department of Legislative Services fiscal briefing on the budget here or read their presentation here.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be sitting in numerous briefings over the next several months as we hear from state agencies, as well as outside stakeholders, about the budget and its ramifications. There are some highlights that I believe are worth pointing out:
One of the functions of our state's Department of Legislative Services is to audit state agencies. The function is similar to the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") at the federal level. These reports help to identify problems at agencies that can be fixed administratively or, in some cases, by legislation. If you are interested in evaluating the performance of any state agency, I would encourage you to visit the website of the Office of Legislative Audits and browse through their products.
District 16 Notes
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.