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It has been just over a month since the conclusion of the 2019 Maryland General Assembly Session. Now that the dust has settled, I wanted to update you on some of the actions taken.

 

The victory I am probably most proud of was the passage of Laura and Reid’s Law, legislation that was inspired by the highly publicized murders of Laura and Reid Wallen by her boyfriend and child’s father, Tyler Tessier. It took two years and some amending but the bill passed and signed by Governor Hogan adds an additional felony and prison sentence of up to 10 years when a person knowingly commits an act of violence against a woman who is known to be pregnant. Women carrying children are – shockingly – far more likely statistically to be abused by an intimate partner and – sadly – the Laura Wallen case was not an isolated incident of intimate partner murder of a pregnant woman. This bill provides a heightened level of protection for all women who suffer from domestic violence all across the state.

In other good news,we passed a balanced budget with no tax increases. I was able to work with a number of my colleagues to defeat bad bills like making Maryland a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants and forcing law-abiding citizens to get a license to purchase long rifles – which are almost never used in crime.

At the local level, Carroll County benefited greatly in Governor Hogan’s Capital Budget, as our County’s delegation was able to work with the Hogan administration and the two capital budget committee chairs to secure funds for several key local priorities. Among those key priorities were funds for expansion of Carroll Hospice, a new Critical Care Unit at Carroll Hospital Center, and an artificial turf field at the North Carroll High School property.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of bad news too. Many in the Democratic majority seem to be taking the “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” approach to economics. They rammed through so-called “green energy” legislation that will drive up the cost of every Marylander’s energy bill to subsidize out-of-state companies and trash incineration while refusing to embrace efficient, clean and cheaper alternatives like nuclear and hydro-electric. That’s awaiting a final decision from the Governor – but it passed with a veto-proof majority in both houses. The General Assembly passed and overrode Governor Hogan’s veto on an ill-conceived $15 minimum wage hike, that will hurt small businesses competing with our neighbors and take jobs from the very people it’s supporters say they want to help, made it through – albeit with a slower implementation ($15 by 2025) than the proponents wanted.

The increasingly leftward drift of the majority party in our state has made the need to effectively articulate common sense, conservative principles more important than ever. Working with our District 5 Delegates – Susan Krebs, April Rose and Haven Shoemaker – that’s exactly what we are trying to do in Annapolis. We represent our constituents and our shared values – working together in a bi-partisan way when we can – but always standing up for what we know will work to make Maryland a place where families and retirees can afford to live and entrepreneurs can create jobs and thrive.

It is an honor and a great responsibility to serve you in the State Senate. Regardless of whether we see eye to eye on every issue, I appreciate receiving your opinions, questions, and input. Please feel free to contact me anytime. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Justin Ready

 

The writer is a State Senator, representing District 5 – Carroll County.