The Maryland General Assembly 2016 session will end this coming Monday atmidnight. These final days feature a flurry of activity and legislation. Some of the legislation that has been or will be considered during these final days includes earned sick leave, the Justice Reinvestment Act, the Maryland Small Business Savings Program and Trust program, and tax changes, among many other important bills.
I was pleased to be given charge of SB 764, legislation from Senator Raskin (D-Montgomery) and Senator Rosapepe (D-Prince George's) that passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis and clarifies the protections for student journalists at our public schools and institutions of higher education. As of this writing, the bill has passed out of the Appropriations Committee unanimously and is heading to the House floor for consideration.
The New York Times recently published a story about Metro. After so many years of Washington Post and other local media stories on Metro's issues, it was interesting to see another major media outlet write about the system.
You may have heard about a Council of Government's summit on Metro last week. The big news out of it was WMATA Board Chairman Jack Evans' discussion of potential and major long-term line closures. You can learn more about the summit here.
As I have expressed in prior emails, the Public Private Partnership ("P3") Agreement for the Purple Line project is lengthy and complex. Indeed, the single agreement covers a 36 year period and includes the finance, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the new transit line. I joined with colleagues from Prince George's County and Montgomery County to ask the Maryland Department of Transportation for more details about some of the provisions in the P3 Agreement. The letter is available here. Bethesda Beat also wrote a story on the letter. The Secretary sent a prompt reply.
I also attended the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee oversight hearing on the Purple Line P3 Agreement. The hearing can be viewed online and the material from the hearing can be found here.
As the end of session approaches, legislation has been heading to the Governor's desk. For bills that hit the Governor's desk before the end of the day last Friday, the Governor has six days to sign or veto the bills. The Governor vetoed the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act, which the legislature will likely overturn. The Governor released a letter explaining the reasons for the veto and several fact checkers have taken issue with his claims which you can view here and here.
My legislation, the Board of Public Works Transparency Act, is among the legislation the Governor will be deciding on. The legislation passed both chambers on a bipartisan basis and had the support of the Administration's Department of Budget and Management. The Governor has already signed three pieces of legislation, including the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, that has been presented to him.
District 16 Notes
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