The State of the State
At noon today, Governor Moore will deliver his first State of the State Address in the House chamber. You will be able to watch the speech on the House of Delegates' YouTube channel. I will include a link to the speech on my social media feeds and in next week's newsletter.
And speaking of Governor Moore, many of you immediately noticed that I inadvertently used the former Governor's name last week when referencing a cabinet appointment. Old habits die hard and I added the paragraph after my dedicated proofreaders did their work, so the error was entirely my own.
I have now introduced nine pieces of legislation, which I expect to be my full load this legislative session. You can browse the bills here. Of course, I will be involved in many other pieces of legislation and issues as a member of the Appropriations Committee and House Majority Leader, so just because you do not see a topic in my own bill list does not mean it will not be addressed or I will not be working on it.
Thus far, two of my bills have been the subject of House committee hearings (every bill introduced before a certain date is guaranteed a hearing). Both bills are devoted to trying to increase our ability to fund major infrastructure projects. The State and Federal Transportation Funding Act hearing was last week and allows the state to use a federal financing vehicle referred to as "GARVEE" bonds for major projects. The Maryland Rail Investment Act hearing was earlier this week and the bill would establish a rail authority in the state funded by road tolls to build major rail projects.
The Blueprint for Maryland's Future is a comprehensive and far-reaching effort to improve public education in the state of Maryland. Most of the press coverage of it during the Hogan years was about cost. Overall cost is important, but the Blueprint is really about what we are doing with our scare resources. It focused on five areas, now known as pillars and described more fully in the legislation:1. Early Childhood Education
2. High Quality and Diverse Teachers and Leaders
3. College and Career Readiness
4. More Resources for Students to Be Successful (particularly targeting certain groups such as special needs to English Language Learner populations)
5. Governance and Accountability
On point five, this included standing up a new Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), which is chaired by Ike Leggett. The AIB is required to produce a Comprehensive Implementation Plan and then each school district will do the same. The Comprehensive Implementation Plan is now available online.
For those who want to do a deep dive, it gets into the details of each pillar by describing the objectives, tasks, and sub tasks that will go into achieving the goals of that pillar and the outcome measures and milestones that will be used to track progress. It will not always be perfectly smooth and progress will be challenging, but the Blueprint for Maryland's Future is more than an increase of funds for our public schools--as important as that is--but a new way to ensure progress towards our ambitious goals.
As I often explain, the vast majority of our work in the legislature is committee-driven. I serve on the Appropriations Committee. In addition to bill hearings, my committee holds budget hearings on each state agency and department. But early in the session we also do more general briefings and here is what we have been up to this past week.
As chair of the Transportation and Environment Subcommittee, I presided over the briefing on major projects. Because of a technical issue, the video of the meeting is not available but the audio is here.
The full committee also held its annual fiscal briefing, where we break down the Governor's budget broadly before examining each agency more closely. The materials for that briefing are available here. And you can watch the briefing here.
The Brunswick Line is the MARC commuter rail line that serves Montgomery County (and beyond). The Maryland Transit Administration is taking comment on the Brunswick Line Expansion Study, which focuses on specific and achievable infrastructure and service improvements. Read the study and comment here.
The Biden Administration recently released a fact sheet regarding the bipartisan infrastructure law's impact on Maryland. Read it here.
I know many of you are concerned about Old Georgetown Road and Little Falls Parkway. I have been involved in numerous constituent conversations on both over the past few weeks but do not have any type of comprehensive update since my prior weekly emails. We continue to pass along specific questions, concerns, and feedback on both issues to the relevant agencies.
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