• Progress in Annapolis, Scholarship Information and Tax Credit Reminders

    Progress in Annapolis

    Over 1,700 bills have been introduced in the House of Delegate. Each bill has to have a public hearing. We have been holding hearings every day (often until the evening) to hear all the witnesses who want to testify. We have already had hearings on 1,000 of these bills and now the bills that have been approved by their respective committees have to be voted on by the full House of Delegates. After the House approves a bill, it has to be approved by the Senate and then signed into law by the Governor.

    Here are three important bills that we voted on last week.

    HB 281 – Computer Science in the Schools – This bill requires public high schools to offer at least one high-quality computer science course beginning in the 2021-2022 school year; establishes the Maryland Center for Computing Education to identify ways to expand access to high-quality computer science education, strengthens the skills of educators, and increases the number of computer science teachers; and requires the Center to work with institutions of higher education.

    HB 230 Restricts the State’s ability to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by requiring statutory approval from the General Assembly prior to withdrawing.

    HB 251 – Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum – Boundaries and Consent This bill mandates age appropriate instruction on the meaning of “consent” and respect for personal boundaries as part of the school curriculum.

    Gun Bills

    Because of the recent horrific events in Parkland Florida, I will review some of the major gun bills that are being discussed in Annapolis

    HB 888 / SB 707 Banning Bump Stocks The bills would ban bump stocks and devices similar to bump stocks. Bump stocks allow a semi-automatic firearm to fire at a rate similar to that of a fully automatic firearm. The shooter in Las Vegas used a bump stock and was able to shoot over 1,100 rounds of ammunition in just a couple of minutes. All of us witnessed the horror and carnage that took place in Las Vegas. Some 58 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured. Bump stocks and similar devices have no place in Maryland and it is vital that we pass this common sense protection.

    HB 1646 – MAKING CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS TURN IN GUNS – This bill would make it mandatory that a judge tell a criminal defendant in a sex abuse case that he/she has to give up their guns the court prior to trial or the acceptance of a plea of guilty or the equivalent of a plea of guilty.

    HB 1302 – Lethal Violence Protective Order – Calls for a protective order that would allow family members or police officers to petition a judge to impose the instant seizure of a firearm or ammunition from a person they believe pose an immediate and present danger to self or others. This type of legislation would prevent incidents like Parkland/Suicides/Domestic Violence Shootings such as just happened in Prince George’s County that resulted in the death of a police officer

    HB 730 – CLOSING THE GUN LENDING LOOPHOLE – Takes care of a loophole that allows people to lend guns to others without having to register the transfer.

    Progress on My Legislation

    There are new developments on three of my bills

    HB662 – Presidential Candidate Tax Transparency Act – This bill would require a candidate for President of the United States to release their last five years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in Maryland. I introduced it last year but it did not make much progress. This year the Senate version of the bill, introduced by Senator Paul Pinsky, is likely to pass the Senate next week. That means there will be momentum to get the bill passed in the House of Delegates. Maryland might become the first state to pass this legislation. I wonder what Trump will tweet.

    HB 308 – De-coupling the Estate Tax From the Federal Estate Tax – This would put the tax exemption for estates at $5 million (all estates under that number would be tax free) and not raise it to the Federal level of $11.2 million. This will save the state $60 million. This bill was voted out of the Ways and Means Committee last week and will be voted on by the House of Delegates next week.

    HB 951 Higher Education Degree and Job Certification Without Debt Act of 2018 – One of the main components of this bill phases in tuition-free community college for students pursuing a AA degree or job certification with family income below $150,000. The Senate version of this bill is moving to a vote on the Senate floor next week, which means there is a good chance that a version of my bill will move next week.

    Two of my other bills have already passed the House of Delegates.

    Both of these bills now have to be heard by Senate Committees, voted by the full Senate, and then signed by the Governor in order to become law.

    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
    My legislation will require the Department of Assessments 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.

    Scholarship Available

    It’s that time of year again! When you think FASFA, think of requesting my scholarship application!!! My scholarship application for students living in District 47A is now available by emailing me at Jimmy.Tarlau@house.state.md.us. The deadline for my scholarship is Friday, April 13th! Each Delegate and Senator are able to bestow scholarships to students attending a Maryland college, university, or private career school. You may receive scholarships from all of your delegates, as well as, your senator.

    Pay attention to these tax credits. .

    The Homestead Credit

    The Homestead Property Tax Credit is eligible to every resident homeowner. 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

    Over 500,000 people who are eligible for the Homestead Tax Credit have not applied for the credit. Every week I meet someone who has not filed for the homestead tax credit and has lost thousands of dollars over the last five or six years. You may be one of these people. You can look on-line at http://sdat.dat.maryland.gov/RealProperty/Pages/default.aspx Type in your address and you can see at the bottom of the page whether you are getting the Homestead Tax Credit and the Homeowners Tax Credit (see below).

    If you need some help to figure this out, send me an email with your address or call me at 301-335-6099.

    Low-income Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit

    Offers property tax break for people regardless of age who make less than $80,000 per year and have a net worth of less than $200,000 (not including retirement accounts or value of your home.) Amount of tax credit depends on how much property tax exceeds a certain percentage of your income. Call 800-944-7403 for more information.

  • 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

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    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 .