• Important New Bills Introduced in Annapolis

    Important Bills that Have Been introduced in the General Assembly

    The Maryland legislative session is two weeks old and over 300 bills have been introduced. The Maryland Legislative Coalition (www.mdlegislative.com) sends out a list of bills that are introduced each week. These are some of the bills I believe are the most significant.

    If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, you should email or call:

    Senator Malcolm Augustine Malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us 410-841-3745
    Delegate Diana Fennell (47A) Diana.fennell@house.state.md.us 301-858-3478
    Delegate Julian Ivey (47A) Julian.ivey@house.state.md.us 410-841-3326
    Delegate Wanika Fisher Wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340

    If you do not know who are your representatives, you can go to www.mdelect.net to find out who are your elected representatives There is also a very good smart phone application MD GOV which lists all the Delegates and Senators, their Committees and their contact numbers.

    HB 4 – Crimes – Hate Crimes – Use of a Noose or Swastika to Threaten or Intimidate
    This bill prohibits anyone from putting a noose or a swastika or any other hate symbol on any building or property without the express permission of the owner of the property. A penalty of 3 years in jail or up to $5,000 will be applied to each violation of this law.

    HB 19 – Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions
    This bill will allow a person to file for expungement if the person was convicted of a non-violent crime. This will allow people who were convicted of drug possession or theft or sex-related charges to more easily get back into society.

    HB 22 – Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on Use of Criminal
    This bill will prohibit certain state licensing departments from denying an application for a license or a certificate based on an applicant’s criminal history if more than 7 years have passed since conviction.

    HB 33 – Medical Cannabis – Provider Applications – Opioid Use Disorder
    This bill allows for the Medical Cannabis Commission to approve provider applications for patients who have opioid use disorder, so that medical marijuana can be used to treat opioid patients.

    HB 35 – Public Health – Opioid Maintenance Therapy Programs – Medical Director Requirements and Qualifications
    This bill requires that any medical director of a therapy program that treats opioid abuse be a licensed physician with at least two years of experience treating individuals addicted to alcohol or drugs, and at least one year of experience treating opioid addictions.

    HB 66 – Railroad Companies – Movement of Freight – Required Crew
    This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers. This is to ensure that if the person driving the train becomes incapacitated, there is someone who can take over.

    HB 77 – Criminal Law – Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide
    Repeals the designation of attempted suicide as a crime. This means that people who attempt suicide get help, not jail time.
    ******HEARING DATE – January 29th, 1:00 pm – Judiciary Committee******

    HB 85 – General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office
    This bill provides for a special election in the case of a vacancy in the General Assembly, and allows for the Governor-appointed replacement to serve out the term until the special election. Currently, there is no provision for a special election and the appointee serves out the term until the next general election.

    HB 109 – Environment – Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition
    This bill bans the sale of polystyrene packaging for food products after January 1, 2020. Polystyrene never decomposes, so it is an environmental hazard and it also contains a neurotoxin and probable carcinogen. It is mostly used in schools and for packaging fast food. The bill includes a fine of $250 for violations.

    HB 96 -Plugging the Loan Loophole in the Transfer of Gun Ownership –
    Adds to the term “transfer” a temporary gratuitous exchange of a regulated firearm between two individuals who remain in the same location for the duration of the exchange.

    HB 102 Toll Road Expansion– County Government Consent Requirement–
    A prohibition on the construction a toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge without the consent of a majority of the counties where the told road is being built.

    HB 166 $15/Hour Minimum Wage
    The bill phases in a $15/hour minimum wage for all workers by 2023. The legislation also indexes the minimum wage to inflation and include all tipped workers. The proposed legislation does not have exemptions for young people or season workers. Delegate Diana Fennell is the lead sponsor for this legislation in the House of Delegates.

    HB 191 – Homeowner’s Insurance – Banning Discrimination In Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
    Prohibiting an insurer, with respect to homeowner’s insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured who becomes a surviving spouse based solely on the insured’s change in marital status.

    HB 214 – Granting Victims and Witness of Crimes a U-Visa
    Granting a victim of criminal activity or the victim’s family a visa if if the victim has been helpful in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity;

    HB 227 – PG 409 (Prince George’s County Local Bill) Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions
    Repealing a prohibition on a developer making a campaign contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County

    SB 8 – Criminal Law – Computer-Aided Firearm Fabrication – Prohibitions
    This bill prohibits the manufacture, sale or possession of a 3D printed firearm.

    If you want to know more about any of the bills send me an email or go to the General Assembly web-site: www.mgaleg.maryland.gov

  • My Next Project

    Dear Friends and Neighbors:

    I want to wish everybody a happy holiday season.

    At the end of this month I will be ending my four-year term as a Maryland State Delegate. While I was disappointed that I was not re-elected to another term, I am very proud of what I accomplished in the Maryland Legislature.

    In my four years as a legislator I was able to pass over fifteen pieces of legislation. Because I was on the Ways and Means Committee, I spent a lot of time working on tax policies. One of the most significant bills saved Maryland over $60 million by making sure that sixty of the richest families did not each receive a $1 million tax break by removing almost all taxes on inherited estates. I was also able to pass bills to increase tax credits for low-income renters and publicizing existing tax credits—which many people unfortunately do not utilize.

    I also worked with my colleagues to pass a lot of progressive legislation. Some of the most significant bills we passed were:
    A ban on fracking in Maryland
    Restoring the right to vote to former prisoners after they get out of jail
    Same day voter registration
    Justice re-investment, which attempts to take people who are not dangerous out of our jails
    I also spent my time getting to know all of the people in my District. I knocked on over 15,000 doors and talked to more than 7,000 people. I think this might have been the most enjoyable part of my experience as a state delegate. While it was a lot of work, I really enjoyed learning about all the neighborhoods in District 47 and hearing about everyone’s lives, concerns and hopes. It was very fulfilling to see how I could help resolve problems that people discussed with me.

    While I will not be in elected office starting in 2019, I truly believe that one’s work in the community does not begin or end because you are elected or not elected to public office. Many people in our community spend countless hours helping to improve our community.

    I have been thinking of how to make use of what I learned in Annapolis and the relationships I made with other legislators. I have decided to continue my advocacy work and have started a new organization, the People’s Lobbying Group (www.plg.solutions), and will continue to advocate for our community in Annapolis on a pro-bono basis. I have already received some good press for my initiative:



    I will also continue to send out my newsletter (although maybe not as frequently as before) to let people know what is going on in Annapolis and what bills have become laws and when they are effective.

    I will always be an advocate for my neighbors and my community as long as I am able to do the work. If you have any issues you feel should be addressed, please feel free to write me; though I will not be your elected representative, I will be happy to brainstorm with you about how to get problems resolved and who we should talk to in order to address your issues.

    As always, I remain an advocate for you as all of us together try to make our community a better place, move Maryland in a more progressive direction, and change the direction of our country from the nightmare that is going on in Washington.

    I hope to see you soon at a community event, a civic association meeting, or maybe just knocking on your door.

    Wishing the best for all of us,


  • Voting Day Is Here!

    Voting Hours: 7 AM to 8 PM
    This is the day I’ve been waiting for since Election Day 2016. It is the time for us to change the
    direction of our country and our state. Too many people stayed home in 2016 and the results have
    been disastrous. Everybody should come to vote.
    My Recommendations
    Some people have asked who I am going to vote for and what I think about some of the ballot
    initiatives.. I am not going to list every office because some of the candidates are unopposed, or do
    not have much opposition.
    These are races I do feel very strongly about:
    Governor/ Lt Governor – Ben Jealous and Susan Turnbull
    I supported Ben Jealous in the Democratic Primary and continue to support him.
    His platform for moving Maryland forward is consistent with what I believe, including:
    $15 minimum wage
    Universal Health Care/Medicare-for –All
    Universal Pre-K Education
    Criminal Justice Reform
    (You can see his complete platform at: https://benjealous.com/issues)
    A number of people have told me that they don’t think Larry Hogan is a bad guy, and think that he
    works in a bi-partisan manner and deserves to be re-elected. Having served in the legislature, I
    really have to disagree. Hogan is a highly partisan politician who did the following:
    1. Vetoed Paid Sick Days for Workers
    2.. Vetoed Increasing Renewable Energy in Maryland
    3. Vetoed Restoring Voting Rights to Residents Leaving Prison
    4. Vetoed a Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana
    5. Vetoed a Bill to Help Halt Deportations of Immigrants over Minor Offenses
    6. Vetoed Giving Parents & Teachers a Role in Education
    7. Vetoed a Bill to Stop Police from Taking Your Money When You Haven’t Committed a
    8. Delayed Tougher Water Pollution Rules for Coal Plants, After Trying to Postpone
    Them Indefinitely
    9. Called Removal of Additional Confederate Monuments Political Correctness “Run
    10. Vetoed Ban-the-Box Legislation (important legislation that was passed over his
    veto, preventing discrimination in college applications – previously, when you applied to a
    college in Maryland, you could be required to give information about whether you’d ever been
    convicted of any offense, however minor)
    11. Refused to fund the Red Line transportation project in Baltimore
    12. Did not fund Prince George’s Hospital
    I believe if Hogan is re-elected he will become more conservative and less bi-partisan as he tries to
    move up in the Republican Party – and when he no longer needs to make himself attractive to
    Maryland Democratic voters. If we want to move Maryland in a more progressive direction and help
    Prince George’s County we need to elect Ben Jealous Governor.
    Attorney General – Brian Frosh
    I believe Brian Frosh is the best Attorney General our state has ever had. He is a tireless advocate
    for consumer rights and has taken the initiative to sue President Trump when his policies have hurt
    Maryland residents.
    State Senate District 47 – Malcolm Augustine
    I have known Malcolm for six years. He is a hard worker who has shown me his commitment to
    serving our community. For the last five years he has been to every municipal council meeting, civic
    association meeting and community event. He has earned my support and I think he will make an
    effective responsive State Senator.
    (Dina Fennell, and Julian Ivey are running for State Delegate in District 47A unopposed.)
    Board of Education District 3 – Pamela BoozerStrother
    (Mount Rainier, Brentwood, N. Brentwood, Avondale/Woodridge, Chillum, Hyattsville,
    University Park)
    Pamela lives in Brentwood. I have known her for over twelve years and worked with her on the
    Gateway Community Development Corporation and in the Mount Rainier/Brentwood
    Community. She is hard working and conscientious. She brings the perspective of a parent, an
    activist in the local PTA and a home owner. Since so much of the state budget goes to education, I
    believe it is important that someone who knows how difficult it is to pay property taxes will make sure
    that the money is spent well. Her program includes building new schools in our area that have
    smaller class sizes, paying educators fairly, and expanding the arts and language programs in all the
    schools. She was endorsed by the Washington Post.
    Ballot Questions
    I will be voting YES on all these questions. Here is some of my reasoning:
    Question 1 – Constitutional Amendment Requiring Gaming
    Revenues to Supplement Spending for Education – YES
    When casinos were approved in Maryland the money was supposed to be used for education
    spending. While technically this money has been used for education, it has not added to education
    funding as intended, because money that was previously dedicated for education was then used for
    other purposes. This Constitutional Amendment would guarantee that all casino moneys would be
    used to supplement moneys that are already placed in the budget as a result of the spending
    formulas that are part of the Bridge of Excellence Act passed in 2002.
    Question 2 – Same-Day Registration on Election Day – YES
    This Constitutional Amendment will allow people to register and vote on Election Day. Right now
    people can register during Early Voting but not on Election Day. Across the country, Republicans
    are working hard to suppress the vote. Anything we can do to encourage people to vote and
    increase citizen participation is a good, democratic thing.
    County Referendums A- E: Charter Amendments to Allow
    the County to Borrow Money by Issuing Bonds – YES
    While county and municipal budgets are used for operating expenditures, bonds are normally
    needed to fund capital construction costs – in the case of these bonds, for new and rehabilitated
    facilities for Public Works and Transportation, the County Library System, Public Safety, County
    Building, and Prince George’s Community College. I use the analogy with buying a home or doing a
    major renovation. Most of us don’t have cash to pay for a house or even a new kitchen, so we take
    out a loan from the bank, normally in the form of a mortgage or re-financing loan on the equity in our
    home. In the same way, local jurisdictions (who have to balance their budgets) have to borrow
    money for capital improvements (i.e., construction projects) and then pay off the projects over a
    number of years (similar to a mortgage).
    County Charter Amendments F – K
    Recommendations from the Charter Review Commission –
    I honestly do not know much about these amendments, but I looked through them and do not see
    anything controversial with them. They are all recommendations from the County Review
    Commission. You can read all the recommendations
    here: https://pgccouncil.us/DocumentCenter/View/3405/2018-Charter-Review-Report . (The
    specific pages for each amendment are discussed on pages 3-6.)
    League of Women Voters Voting Guide
    The league publishes a very detailed guide with candidate biographies and responses to questions
    as well as details about each of the ballot initiatives and a list of the projects planned for each of the
    bond bills that have been proposed.
    You should check it out
    at: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/lwvmaryland/pages/2249/attachments/original/15386819
    If you have any questions or comments about any of the candidates or issues, please send me an
    email at jtarlau@gmail.com and I will respond.