• Hot Topics In Annapolis

    The legislative session in Annapolis lasts three months.  One month has passed and we have accomplished a lot (passage of Paid Sick Leave, Ban the Box, and Denial of Parental Rights to a Rapist bills), but most of the work is still ahead of us.  There have been over 1,700 bills introduced and every bill has to have a public hearing.  We have over 700 bills to be heard in my Ways and Means Committee.  That will mean long days of public hearings over the next few weeks.  All bills have to be heard and voted on by the House and Senate by midnight on April 9th,

    My Legislation

    I have introduced 16 bills this year and have had hearings on 9 of them.  Two of my bills have been voted on favorably by their respective committees and are now waiting a vote by the full House of Delegates:

    HB 400     Advance Notice to Municipalities for Mosquito Spraying

    This bill simply asks that the state and county notify municipalities twenty-four hours before there is any spraying for mosquito control so residents can be alerted to keep their pets and children inside when spraying is being done

    HB 305     Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility Awareness  Campaign

    The Homestead Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage.  Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10% or less each year.

    The problem is that in 2009 the government found that some properties that were not owner-occupied were getting the credit, so they made everybody fill out a one-time application for the credit.  Some people did not apply and they have not been receiving the tax credit.  There are close to 500,000 homeowners in Maryland who  do not receive the homestead tax rebate.

    My legislation will require the Department of Assessment and Taxation to put a reminder notice in the assessment notices that go out every three  years to all those homeowners who are eligible and have not applied for the rebate.

    Other Important Bills I Am following

    There is a lot of important legislation that is being discussed in Annapolis.  I have listed below just a small list of some of the bills I am following.  You can find the status of all bills at www.mgaleg.maryland.gov .  If you are interested in a specific bill or topic, please send me an email.  I will continue to update everybody when important legislation passes the General Assembly

    • PROTECTING MARYLAND’S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AGAINST FEDERAL ASSAULTS – Preserves insurance coverage by responding to Congress’ repeal of Affordable Care Act individual mandate (HB1167/SB1011)
    • FIGHT FOR FIFTEEN – raising Maryland’s minimum wage over time to $15 (HB664/SB543).  Delegate Diana Fennell is the Prince George’s leader on this issue
    • FUNDING FOR METRO – House Bill 372 carves out $150M from the transportation trust fund to create a dedicated funding stream for Metro contingent on DC & Virginia following suit
    • PROTECTING TREES – A bill strengthening the Forest Conservation Act (HB766)
    • CANNABIS LEGALIZATION – An amendment to Maryland’s constitution allowing voters to decide on legalization of recreational marijuana (HB1264)
    • PUBLIC FINANCING OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS.  Establishing a system of public financing of campaigns for candidates for election to the General Assembly (HB 785)
    • CLEAN ENERGY – increasing the percentage of renewable sources used to generate electricity (SB732/HB1453 = 50% by 2035, HB878 = 100% by 2050)
    • NET NEUTRALITY AND INTERNET PRIVACY – reversing the FCC’s decisions at the state level (HB1655, HB1654)
    • REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS – Joining a coalition of states that will address climate change by incentivizing the reduction of carbon emissions through a carbon tax (HB939)
    • EDUCATION LOCK BOX – Proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to limit the uses of certain revenues to educational opportunities and programs for the children of the State in public schools, the advancement of educators, and the construction of school facilities.  (HB 1697)
    • REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE EXTENSION ACT – This bill will ensure Maryland remains in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, our regional cap and trade program for power plants. (HB 230)
    • PRETRIAL SERVICES GRANT FUND – Providing funds  to ensure all eligible defendants are afforded the opportunity for Pre-Trial release and to enhance public safety by providing community monitoring and referral to services that will increase the likelihood of appearance for trial and to reduce the risk for re-arrest. (HB 447)
    • COMPUTER SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM   Requiring school boards to require public high schools to offer  computer science courses beginning in the 2021-2022 school year and appropriating funds to train teachers.  (HB 281)

    Maryland Legislative Leaders Unveil Broad Education Bill Based on Kirwan Panel’s Recommendations

    The long-awaited Kirwan Commission Preliminary Report was issued last week.  The report paints a bleak picture of the state of Maryland education based on findings that the average public school is underfunded by $2 million every year.

    Maryland has fallen in education rankings from No. 1 a few years ago to No. 6 now,

    The panel  has been working for 18 months to devise new funding formulas for Maryland’s public schools and recommendations for policies to keep the state’s education system among the nation’s best.

    The panel’s preliminary report  suggests that any new funding formula must be sufficient to finance universal pre-kindergarten for students of all incomes and provide more money for schools in low-income neighborhoods.

    The recommendations also seek to devise a way to pay teachers more, establish more career and technical programs, and develop a more challenging curriculum for high-achieving students who want to quickly attain associate’s degrees.

    The commission will work until later this year to recommend how to implement and fund its recommendations.

    Legislative leaders are advancing some small recommendations from the Commission this session in one omnibus bill (HB1415/SB1092).  They want to pass a bill in the current session that ends in April to get some of that new money flowing for the next school year. Ideas included in the bill include:

    • Establishing a Career and Technical Education group, composed of individuals with expertise in CTE programs and the needs of the business community to develop rigorous CTE pathways leading to industry-certified credentials.
    • Expanding the current program of early childhood education by increasing the funding for prekindergarten expansion grants.
    • Requiring the Maryland State Department of Education  to develop a comprehensive recruitment program aimed at the top 25% of graduates from high schools (in each school system) to encourage them to consider teaching as a profession.
    • Expanding and fully fund the Maryland Teaching Fellows Scholarship to provide tuition remission for teachers in return for a commitment to teach in high-needs schools.
    • Establishing a grant program for jurisdictions or schools with high concentrations of poverty to provide additional academic instruction through after-school and summer programs.

    House Economic Matters Committee Votes Down Anti-Worker Legislation

    Like clockwork, every legislative session, legislators hostile to workers and their unions introduce legislation to compromise collective bargaining. They call it “right to work.” This year, it was introduced as HB 264. Several states have shifted to “right to work” status in the last eight years, and wages in those states have dropped precipitously despite corporate earnings increasing. The proposal is a race to the bottom that Maryland has rightly rejected year after year. Maryland rejected it again when  the House Economic Matters Committee voting 13-7 to kill the bill.

    The Committee also voted 12-11 to oppose legislation that was seeking to delay the effective date of the earned sick leave legislation that passed last year and was implemented by veto override this year. Qualifying workers were able to start earning sick leave as of February 11, and with the defeat of SB 304, that benefit will continue to be available to them.  I want to thank my team-mate, Diana Fennell, who is on the Economic Matters Committee for her leadership on both issues.

  • Survey Results

    Survey Results

    Thank you to all of those who filled out the survey.  Over 410 people completed the survey and here are the results!  There were lots of great comments. We really appreciate your input.

    If you have not filled out the survey and would like to weigh in on any of the issues please click on the link at the end of the result summary. 

    1. Do you support increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023?

    Yes:                            84%
    No:                             10%
    Not sure:                      6%

    1. Do you support “Death with Dignity” legislation? 

    Yes:                         75%
    No:                          11%
    Not sure:                 14%

    1. Do you support putting the issue of the legalization of marijuana on the ballot?  

    Yes:                          72%
    No:                           17%
    Not Sure:                  11%

    1. Should all the members of the Prince George’s County School Board be elected?

    Yes:                           59%
    No:                            13%
    Not sure:                    28%

    1. Do you think Maryland should offer $3-5 billion in incentives to lure Amazon to Montgomery County?

    Yes:                         18%
    No:                           50%
    Not sure:                  32%

    1. The legislature is debating increasing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from the current goal of 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030 or 100% by 2035.

    Current goal: (25% by 2020)     16%
    50% by 2030                              36%
    100% by 2035                            26%
    Not sure:                                    22%

    1. Do you support the banning of marriage for people under 18 years of age? 

    Yes                                            66%
    No:                                            16%
    Not sure:                                   18%

    1. Do you think it should be a traffic violation to stay in the passing lane in a three-lane highway other than when passing a slower car in the middle lane and returning to the middle lane?

    Yes:                                           30%
    No:                                            53%
    Not sure:                                   17%

    1. Do you support legislation that prohibits keeping citizens in jail beyond their sentence if they do not have their immigration papers?

    Yes:                                           67%
    No:                                            15%
    Not sure:                                   18%

    1. Do you support legislation that would allow a rape victim to terminate the parental rights of the attacker? (Last week the General Assembly voted unanimously to pass this legislation.  Governor Hogan has said he will sign the bill into law.)

    Yes:                          95%
    No:                             1%
    Not sure:                    4%

    1. Do you support the construction of the high-speed MagLev train?

    Yes:                          35%
    No:                           33%
    Not sure:                  32%

    Take the survey

    If nothing happens when you click on the link, you can type this into your browser:  

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7WDVW7W

    ******************************************** 

     

    District 47 Night in Annapolis

    Free Event – Light Buffet Dinner

    Monday, February 12th
    6pm – 8pm

    Miller Senate Office Building
    11 Bladen Street, Annapolis

    Bring Photo ID

    Limited Bus Service Provided 

    Call 301-858-3340 to Reserve Your Seat/RSVP

    For information on parking, visit parkannapolis.com .

  • Survey on Current Issues in Annapolis

    We Need Your Input

    When you elected us in 2014 you gave me and Delegate Fennell the authority to vote on issues that come before the General Assembly. Many issues are not very controversial, at least in terms of our district, and we have a good idea how people want us to vote. But as in past years, I am doing a survey so that you can let us know how you feel about important issues that directly affect you. Click on this Take the survey link to take the survey.

    Below are the survey questions with some additional details. I haven’t included bill numbers, since it’s still early in the 2018 legislative session, and many of the bills don’t have numbers yet.

    If you would like to know more about any of these issues, send me an email (jtarlau@gmail.com).

    1. Do you support increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023?
    2. Do you support “Death with Dignity” legislation?  (This would allow terminally ill patients above the age of 18 to request medication to end their life. The patient must have six months or less to live, must be mentally competent, and must provide oral and written consent from at least two doctors. Although most people know of such laws from western states like Oregon and Washington, DC also allows “death with dignity.”)
    3. Do you support putting the issue of the legalization of marijuana on the ballot?  (Allows an individual in the State who is at least 21 years old to use marijuana, possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, and cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants)
    4. Should all the members of the Prince George’s School Board be elected? (Currently, 9 out of 14 members are elected, and the remaining are appointed.)
    5. Do you think Maryland should offer $3-5 billion in incentives to lure Amazon to Montgomery County?
    6. The legislature is debating increasing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from the current goal of 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030 or 100% by 2035. (The current goal was vetoed by Governor Hogan, but passed with an override in 2017.) These percentages indicate how much of the total electricity sold by the utility must be supplied by renewable sources such as solar or wind power. Do you think we should change the current goal?  Note that such laws also restrict how much energy costs can be passed along to the consumer.
    7. Do you support the banning of marriage for people under 18 years of age?  (Many states across the country are raising the age requirement for marriage, although this issue is hotly debated across the political spectrum. Arranged marriage of underage children to older persons, often for money, has become an increasing problem. Currently in Maryland, people can marry at 16 with parental consent, and even younger in case of pregnancy or the birth of a child.)
    8. Do you think it should be a traffic violation to stay in the passing lane in a three-lane highway other than when passing a slower car in the middle lane and returning to the middle lane?
    9. The Federal government wants to enlist the help of law enforcement by requiring them to detain undocumented immigrants who have been jailed for any reason, holding them in jail and contacting ICE. Do you support legislation that prohibits keeping citizens in jail beyond their sentence if they do not have their immigration papers?
    10. Do you support legislation that would allow a rape victim to terminate the parental rights of the attacker? (See, for instance, the Washington Post editorial from 1/3/18, “2018 has to be the year Maryland ends parental rights for rapists.” Maryland is currently one of only seven states that do not prevent rapists from gaining custody of children conceived by the rape, although the state has passed a number of strong laws otherwise protecting rape victims.)
    11. Do you support the construction of the high-speed MagLev train that would go from Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes, and would go underground when it passes through District 47?  (For more information go towww.bwmaglev.info and www.stopthistrain.org )

    If nothing happens when you click on the link, you can type this into your browser:  
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7WDVW7W

    ******************************************** 

    District 47 Night in Annapolis

    Monday February 12 from 6pm – 8pm

    Free Event – Light Buffet Dinner

    Miller Senate Office Building

    11 Bladen Street, Annapolis

    Bring Photo ID

    Limited Bus Service Provided 

    Call 301-858-3745 to Reserve Your Seat

    For information on parking, visit parkannapolis.com.