• Legislature Overrides Governor Hogan’s Vetoes of Paid Sick Leave and Ban the Box Legislation

    Paid Sick Leave Becomes Law  

    The legislation allows workers at companies with 15 workers or more to earn up to five days a year of paid sick leave, which they could also use for such matters as going to court to obtain a protective order against domestic violence or dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault. A worker will be able to earn an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. It will benefit about 700,000 Maryland workers.

    Ban the Box Becomes Law

    The new law denies colleges and universities the option of asking an applicant if they have been arrested or charged of a crime in the initial application process. This will provide a second chance to those individuals who have worked hard to turn their life around, and it encourages them to seek higher education. Colleges and universities remain free to ask about arrests and convictions at later stages of the admission process and to deny entry to applicants they believe pose a danger.

    Order Prohibits Swift Van Lines from Refusing to Deliver Consumers’ Goods

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh filed charges against Swift Van Lines, LLC (formerly known as Revolution Moving and Storage), a household goods moving company based in Hyattsville for charging consumers several times the amount the company estimated it would cost to move consumers’ goods, and then driving off with consumers’ goods if they did not pay the increased demand.  Under Maryland law, when a move takes place within the State, a moving company cannot refuse to deliver consumers’ household goods after they’ve been loaded on the truck.  Maryland law also places limits on how much movers can charge consumers above their estimates—in most cases movers cannot charge more than 125% of the estimate.

    Process to Legally Obtain Medical Cannabis in Maryland

    ​​A number of people have asked me: What is the process for legally obtaining medical cannabis in the State of Maryland (once it becomes available)?  You can find out on this important web-site.
    http://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/process_to_obtain.aspx

    Free Tax Preparation Available

    The CASH Campaign of Maryland ​ ​ (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) is a nonprofit organization that promotes economic advancement for low-to moderate income individuals and families. CASH Is providing the important services:
    If you made less than $54,000 in 2017 you may qualify for free tax preparation.  IRS certified volunteers and local agencies will e-file your taxes and direct deposit your refund into your bank account.
    Call 800-492-0618 for a list of sites or visit www.cashmd.org .
    You can also get free software to do your own taxes at www.cashmd.org.

    Proposed Legislation to Deny Parental Rights for An Attacker in a Rape

    LEGISLATION THAT would allow a rape victim to terminate the parental rights of her attacker has been introduced into the Maryland General Assembly nine times. Nine times it has died — making Maryland one of the dwindling few states in the country that requires a woman who becomes pregnant as the result of rape to negotiate custody and adoption decisions with her assailant.  We hope this will be one of the first bills that will pass in this year’s session. This legislation would establish a court process to terminate rapists’ parental rights when a child is conceived through rape.

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    Save the Date

    District 47 Night in Annapolis

    Monday February 12th from 6pm – 8pm

    More information will be distributed next week regarding sign up and transportation.

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    President’s Trumps Unacceptable Comments on Our

    Immigrant Communities

    I usually only discuss state and county issues in these newsletters but every elected official, including myself, has to publicly state that the President’s statements about the countries from which many of our neighbors come from are completely unacceptable.  I cannot believe that in 2018 our national leader said these things.  We just cannot shrug our shoulders and say his comments are the new normal.  We all need come out and vote in this year’s election and send a message to the White House about what we think of his comments and actions!

  • New Laws Effective January 1 – Hot Issues Coming Up in the Next Legislative Session

    Two New Laws In Effect January 1 2018

    • The Contraceptive Equity Act, prohibits insurers from charging co-payments for contraceptive drugs, procedures and devices approved by the federal government.  It also requires insurers to cover the cost of over-the-counter contraceptive medications, such as the morning after pill, and bars them from charging a co-payment for vasectomies.  It is one of the most comprehensive measures in the country addressing access to contraceptives. The bill is designed to provide more options for couples who need affordable birth control.
    • The Smoke-Alarm Law, was signed in 2013 but goes in effect on January 1st. It requires homeowners to replace 9-volt battery operated smoke detectors with newer models that lasts a decade. The legislation updated the state’s nearly 40-year-old law on fire protection.  The law calls for 10-year-old smoke detectors to be replaced. The date of manufacture, while sometimes hard to locate, should be printed on the back of smoke alarms. If no manufacture date is printed on your alarm, experts say it is likely outdated and should be replaced. The legislation does not affect homes with hard-wired smoke alarms.

    Hot Issues Coming Up In Next Year’s Legislative Session

    Restoring highway user funds

    For many years municipalities have depended on state revenues that come from state highways go through municipalities.  There was formula that appropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars to our municipalities.  During the recession that revenue source was drastically cut and has never been fully restored.  In recent years municipalities have received grants as a substitute for the highway user revenue.  But the grants have not be at the same level and they are not something municipalities can depend on when they prepare their local budgets  One of our priorities will be to restore highway user funds with a formula that is equivalent to the former appropriation and dependable enough that municipalities can depend on the revenue source.

    Lock box on Educational Funding

    Two members of the General Assembly, Delegate Maggie McIntosh and Senator Joan Carter Conway, plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would put the state’s share of revenue from its casino gambling industry in a “lockbox” for public schools.   The amendment would ensure that gambling taxes are not used to finance the state’s K-12 educational funding formula but to enhance it.

    Education aid in recent years has been nearly flat even as Maryland’s six casinos have prospered. Money from gambling taxes has flowed into the Education Trust Fund — but other money that was previous used for education has gone into the general fund. The casino revenue in effect has made it easier to maintain education spending required by state law, but the money unfortunately has not led to increased per-pupil funding for schools.

    Many people have told me: “‘What has happened to the gaming money?’” The legislation would put the amendment on the 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

    Aid to local governments for K-12 education is one of the largest components of Maryland’s $43 billion annual budget. In the current budget, Maryland is spending nearly $6.4 billion for that purpose.

    Maryland casinos generated $1.4 billion in revenue during the budget year that ended June 30. Of that, the casinos kept $814 million and paid the rest in taxes. The biggest beneficiary of those taxes was the Maryland Education Trust Fund with $451 million.   This is a good step to ensuring that the casino money goes to enhance the money needed for public education.

    Some More of My Legislative Initiatives – Part 2

                Here are some more bills I will be introducing in the next session

    1 – 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

    2 – Advance Notice to Municipalities on Tree Cutting –

    We are finding out that Pepco is removing instead of pruning large trees in our community despite local ordinances that protect our community’s large trees.  My bill would make Pepco notify a municipality that trees are going to be removed in their town on public or private property so the town can talk to residents about alternatives to tree cutting in order to protect the urban forest.

    3 – Making Business Tax Credits More Effective

    Since I am on the Revenue Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee I spend a lot of time reviewing the state business tax credits.  There are over 10 tax credits with appropriations of over $100 million.  I have found that many of these tax credits are not effective and they are often mis-used by the people who receive the credits.  I plan in this year and future years to propose that we revise these credits to make them more effective or abolish them

    A – Stopping Double Dipping with Business Tax Credits 

    Believe it or not we have found out that some business is receiving two different tax credits for the same projects.  Business tax credits are fine if they actually used to hire more people, but a lot of companies just use the credits to enhance their profits and they actually aren’t an incentive to employ more people. The abuse of these tax credits has to stop.  My bill would prohibit ‘double-dipping.’

    B- Ensuring that Business Tax Credits Go to Small Businesses

    I have found that the big companies (Northrup Grumman, AstraZeneca, etc.) are taking a lion’s share of the tax credits and the small companies are only getting crumbs.  I will be introducing a bill that ensures that small companies get at least 25% of the Research and Development Tax Credit.  Hopefully if my colleagues go along with this I will in future years introduce similar legislation for the other business tax credit programs.

    4 – Increasing Revenue – Closing Tax Loopholes

    I continue to look at ways to raise money for schools, services and our roads and tax relief for senior who are on fixed income.  You can’t do all those things without raising money, so in the past and again this legislative session I will be introducing legislation that will attempt to raise money by closing corporate loopholes.  Two of these bills I also introduced last year.

                A – Closing the Carried Interest Loophole 

    This is something that Donald Trump promised he would eliminate but was not included in the tax package that passed in Congress

    Carried interest is a loophole in the tax code that allows the managers of hedge funds to pay a lower rate than most individuals.  A hedge fund manager usually takes 20 percent of all gains on the fund’s investments.  The tax code treats that income as a “long-term capital gain,” which is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income (currently maximums of 20 percent versus 39.6 percent).

    It really should be taxed at the normal rate 39.6% because it is not a capital gain (selling stocks, etc.  at a gain).  My bill (which is similar to other legislation introduced in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and supported by the New York Times) would have these funds taxed at the normal rate 39.6% in Maryland until Congress moves ahead with plugging the loophole.  It would raise close to $30 million in extra revenue in Maryland.

               B – Closing the Nowhere Tax Loophole – The Throwback Rule

    The ‘throwback’ rule is form of corporate taxation that could generate much-needed revenue for Maryland. In short, it is a taxation measure that twenty-five states have already adopted to ensure that corporations pay state income taxes on 100% of their profits; we want Maryland to join those states.

    The complicated details have to do with how taxes are paid by companies that do business in more than one state. A corporation that is based in Maryland but that also does business in at least one other state does not pay Maryland corporate income tax on 100% of its income. Instead, according to a complex formulation, it is liable for taxes based on the percentage of income earned within the state. The other states where the corporation does business are entitled to require the corporation to pay income tax in their states in proportion to the amount of business the corporation does there. However, many states do not collect such taxes; the result is that large corporations in Maryland have “nowhere income” – income on which they do not pay tax in Maryland or in any other state.

    The throwback rule is meant to eliminate this tax loophole, by allowing the home state of the corporation to collect income tax on the portion of corporate income that is currently “nowhere income” – it is “thrown back” to Maryland.
    It is estimated that there are over 200 MD corporations that have over $5 billion in ‘” nowhere income” and closing this tax loophole would result in increased revenue of over $40 million for Maryland.

    You can read more about the Throwback Rule by clicking:  https://ilsr.org/rule/throwback-rules

    5 – Changing Party Registration During Early Voting

    As you may know, Maryland has closed primaries: you must declare your party affiliation in advance to be eligible to vote in that party’s primary. This means that independents don’t get to make their votes count in June, unless they change their registration at least a month ahead of time. I will be introducing legislation to enable independents to change their party during early voting so they can vote in the Democratic (or Republican) Primary.   I hope this will attract more people to come and vote.

    Useful Information

    Legislation that has been “pre-filed” for the 2018 legislative session can now be viewed online.  House bills are available here http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs/LegisLegal/2018RS-HouseCurrentStatusReport.pdf   and Senate bills here http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs-Current/Current-Senate-Status-Report.pdf   .  Many legislators pre-file bills to get them into the public eye and, in some cases, get an earlier hearing date.

    Before each legislative session, our non-partisan Department of Legislative Services releases issue papers exploring some of the topics that will come up during the 90 day session.  You can read the issue papers–or at least papers on the topics you are interested in here  http://dls.maryland.gov/pubs/prod/RecurRpt/Issue-Papers-2018-Legislative-Session.pdf .

    Scholarships
    Scholarship from our office are available for constituents living in District 47A, who are attending or will be attending a Maryland undergraduate, graduate, or professional school during school year 2017-2018. You can print out an application at my web-site www.jimmytarlau.olg or contact me at jimmy.tarlau@house.state.md.us  and request one by email.  Or you may call my office at 301-858-3326 and leave your email address.  This year, my scholarship application is due Friday, April 15th.
    Endorsements
                Delegate Diana Fennell and I were recently endorsed by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.  We are proud of our environmental record. http://www.mdlcv.org/maryland-lcv-endorsements-2018
  • Preparing for Annapolis and Scholarship Information

    Preparing for Annapolis

    Next month Delegate Fennell and I will return to Annapolis for our fourth legislative session.  It will be the last year of our four-year term.  We will be running for re-election in 2018 as a team for another four year term.

    The upcoming legislative session will be full of real challenges.  In this and upcoming newsletters I will discuss some of the issues that we will be working on in Annapolis.

    Over-Riding Governor Vetoes

    One of the first actions we will take will be to over-ride the Governor’s veto of two pieces of legislation we passed in our last session:
    The first bill was the Paid Sick Leave Act which would have covered 700,000 Maryland workers.  It would give employees in business of more than 15 people five days of paid sick leave a year.  It was good legislation for working people and we want to make sure it becomes law next year.

    The second bill was the Ban the Box Act.  This bill would have would have barred colleges in the state from asking about criminal history on admissions applications.  It is important to note that the bill would not stop colleges from doing background checks on perspective students. The legislation would allow colleges to reject applicants with criminal records as long as they do not “automatically or unreasonably restrict” admission based on that factor.  Moreover, schools could develop policies restricting such students from campus housing or certain academic programs, such as pharmacy studies and law enforcement.

    Planning An Aggressive Agenda

    I, along with others, will be pushing an aggressive agenda.   Some of our priorities will be:

    • increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour;
    • passing legislation to make community colleges tuition free (funded by closing corporate loopholes);
    • increasing the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and passing legislation to make sure that our citizens are not kept in jail beyond their sentence just because they do not have the correct immigrant papers; and,
    • banning the sale of bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas mass shooting to turn a semiautomatic rifle into a rapidly firing weapon.

    I will talk about more of the hot issues to be debated in Annapolis in future reports.

    Some of My Initiatives – Part I

    I have been busy working on legislation that I plan to introduce in January.  Here are a few of my bills.  I’ll summarize some others in the next newsletter

    1 – De-coupling the Maryland Estate Tax from the Federal Estate Tax
    One piece of legislation which I am preparing to introduce will make sure that the Maryland estate tax is not tied to the Congressional plan that will raise the exemption on the estate tax to $11 million.  If we do not separate ourselves from what is being done in Congress, Maryland will lose $50 -$100 million.  This will affect only 80 estates in all of Maryland.  These estates belong to the wealthiest one tenth of one per cent of the people in our state.

    2 –  Informing Homeowners About the Homestead Tax Rebate
    When I am visiting people in their homes, I am finding a good percentage of folks who are not receiving the Homestead Tax Rebate.  You could be losing a lot of money if you are not getting the rebate.  The Homestead Credit is for every owner-occupied residence in Maryland, no matter the household income.
    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. You can view a listing of homestead caps for each local government here http://dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Documents/Homestead_Percent_Caps.pdf
    The Homestead Credit does not limit the market value of the property – it is  a credit calculated on any assessment increase exceeding 10% (or the lower cap enacted by the local governments) from one year to the next.  In other words, the homeowner pays no property tax on the market value increase which is above the limit.

    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.  I believe up to 20% of the homeowners in our County do not receive the homestead tax rebate.

    My legislation would require the Department of Assessment and Taxation every three years to send a reminder notice to all those homeowners who are eligible and have not applied for the rebate.

    3 – Expanding Overtime Coverage in Maryland

    The current salary level for people who are administrative or supervisory employees has been in place since 2004. The current level is $12.25 per hour or $23,600. My legislation would increase it to $17.50 per hour or $700 per week. That means any employee who earns under that amount will be paid overtime, or time-and-a-half, for working more than 40 hours a week. Businesses with revenue of less than $500,000 annually would be exempt from the new rules.

    4 – Expanding Tuition Debt Credit to Graduate Loans 

    In 2016 we passed legislation that gave a new tax credit available for Maryland residents who incurred at least $20,000 in total undergraduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt during the tax year for which you are applying. Unfortunately, it did not include graduate debt which is how people accumulate hundreds of thousands of student debt.  My bill would not increase the amount appropriated for the tax credit ($5 million) but would enable people with graduate debt to be eligible.  There will be more people applying but it will now include those with the highest student debt.

    School Year 2018-2019 Scholarship Applications  Now Available!

    My scholarship is now available for my constituents living in District 47A, who are attending or will be attending a Maryland undergraduate, graduate, or professional school during school year 2018-2019.

    You can print out an application at my web-site:  www.jimmytarlau.org  or contact me at jimmy.tarlau@house.state.md.us  and request one by email.  This year, my scholarship application is due Friday, April 13th.

    District 47’s Holiday Party & Toy Drive Thursday, Dec 21st

    7 PM – 11 PM

    Mexico Lindo Restaurant

    5652 Annapolis Rd, Bladensburg

    Music by DJ Mike G

    NO CHARGE – But Bring a New Unwrapped Toy!

    Toys will be donated to St. Anne’s Center for Children, Youth and Families

    Supreme Court Won’t Review Maryland’s Law Banning Sales of ‘Assault Weapons’
    The Supreme Court declined to review a Maryland law banning the sale of semiautomatic guns with certain military-style features, similar to weapons used in recent mass shootings.

    Maryland’s ban on “assault” weapons was passed after the 2012 mass shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.  The majority opinion refers to the banned firearms as “weapons of war” that the court says are most useful in the military.  The Court held that the Second

    Amendment provides absolutely zero protection to the most popular long guns in the country and standard-capacity ammunition magazines that number in the tens of millions.”

    Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws.

    Asking For Support
    Diana Fennell and I are running for re-election next year.  If you are satisfied with the kind of representation that I’ve demonstrated, please give me your support.  It costs a lot of money to run for election and we will not be able to accept donations once the Legislative Session begins on January 10th through April 10th.

    Checks can be made out to:
    Friends of Jimmy Tarlau, 4213 34th Street, Mount Rainier, MD 20712 or by going to the web-site:  www.jimmytarlau.net

    Authorized by Friends of Jimmy Tarlau,  Jodi Beder Treasurer