There is less than a week to go in the 2017 Maryland legislative session. The only "must pass" legislation, the budget, has already passed both chambers but there is still a lot of other work to be done. I have a few of my own bills moving through the last steps of the legislative process and the legislature as a whole is still working on issues of statewide importance such as earned sick leave and cash bail reform.
You can always keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter, clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook, or visitingwww.marckorman.com.
The Capital Budget--the state's construction budget--passed last week. It included many important funding items for Montgomery County. One item of particular importance is school construction. Two years ago, the Montgomery County Delegation in the legislature obtained a special grant for school districts with high enrollment growth of $20 million, approximately 1/4 of which went to Montgomery County. Last year we doubled that grant and Montgomery County received more than a quarter (approximately $12 million of $40 million). This year's capital budget includes an additional $22 million for that program, $10 million of which will go to Montgomery County. These additional dollars will not entirely solve school crowding in the County, but it helps. And, of course, this is over and above the state's standard school construction allocation to the County.
The House version included $12 million more for Montgomery, but that was reduced to $10 million by the Senate.
I am pleased that in the final days of the legislative session, two of my bills are moving forward. Senate legislation SB 1 is the same as my bill addressing early intervention reporting in our schools and has been sent back over to the Senate with amendments. The Energy Storage Study Act has also passed out of the Senate Committee and should be coming back to the House for a final vote shortly.
Many of us have been pushing the State Highway Administration (SHA) to implement the use of High Intensity Activated Crosswalks (HAWK signals) at some pedestrian crossings. These signals are dark when not in use but can be triggered by pedestrians and then illuminate a signal to stop traffic. I have co-sponsored legislation on this issueand advocated to the Attorney General's office that SHA's resistance to HAWK signals is inconsistent with the law. I am pleased that after years of advocacy, Maryland is finally moving ahead with modified HAWK signals at two pilot locations, including one in Montgomery County. Learn more here.
Virginia has been plowing ahead on the issue of Metro reform. The Virginia General Assembly passed language calling for the Metro compact to be reopened and their Governor hired former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to study the issue. Maryland is getting in on the act and has passed language on the issue as part of the annual budget.
As I explained to the Washington Post:
'Metro is crucial for our region and it is important that Maryland’s reform priorities be on the table along with those of Virginia and D.C.,' Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery) said. He and Sen. Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery) played leading roles in adding the provision to the budget."
Many legislators played a role in getting the language included, as well as advocates such as Federal City.
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