We are now in the final days of the 2015 legislative session. As I suspect is the case every year, there is still a lot to do in a short period of time. The remaining issues that will be--or are likely to be--resolved before adjournment include finalizing the budget, addressing the future of fracking in the state, bills affecting criminal justice reform, and several items on the Governor's agenda described below.
My own Metro-related legislation pending in the Senate, HB 300, has received the unanimous support of the Prince George's County Senate Delegation and was heard by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday. I will continue to work to advance it before the legislature adjourns.
The big news last week was the Governor's submission of a supplemental budget. Many had expected a supplemental budget that restored funding for education and healthcare. The legislature has identified the necessary funds for restoration, but constitutionally the Governor must amend his budget to spend those funds. Instead, the Governor's supplemental budget includes a number of his pet causes such as narrow tax cuts for particular groups, two new classes of Maryland State Troopers, and a corporate grant for private school funding. This is all part of the budget negotiating process and some of what the Governor has requested may ultimately be approved in some form. But I am personally disappointed that the Governor is holding public education funding--something we all say we support--hostage pending passage of items on his legislatve wishlist. As a reminder, the cut to Montgomery County education funds next year would be $25 million under the Governor's original budget.
Because of the timing of the supplemental budget, it will be discussed by the conference committee made up of House and Senate members finalizing the budget.
After a long delay, RideOn and the State Highway Administration have been able to remove the inconvenient detour of RideOn Route 34. The detour was a result of construction at Wisconsin Avenue and Cedar Lane.
Shortly after the Governor's State of the State Address, I included a list of his legislative agenda items in my weekly email. Here is a short update on where those agenda items now stand in the legislative process:
District 16 Notes
Congratulations to District 16 resident Mike Lemov on the release of his new book, Car Safety Wars: 100 Years of Technology, Politics, and Death. Mike's previous book is People's Warrior, a biography of Congressman John Moss which I highly recommend.
Congratulations to several local residents on being awarded "Golden Shovel" awards for being good Samaritans during the snow this winter.
If you know of a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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