We are one week away from "crossover", the date that each chamber (House and Senate) sends the other chamber the bills that they plan to pass favorably. There will be a lot of long days up until crossover as legislators work to get their bills through. As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome at SenatorReady@gmail.com.
I have two pieces of very good news to share from this week:
1. Maryland General Assembly Finally Went After the Bad Guys:
After several days of intense debate with a few progressive Senators holding the bill up - the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee passed out SB 35 which included several parts of Governor Hogan's Violent Crime legislation, as well as pieces of other initiatives, including my bill SB 672 which made theft of a handgun a felony. Here's some of the highlights of SB 35:
A. Makes theft of a firearm a felony
B. Doubles potential prison time for giving someone a gun to commit a crime ("actual knowledge")
C. Gives prosecutors more tools to crack down on firearm offenders
D. Enhances penalties for criminals who are caught repeatedly carrying guns.
There are still bad anti-2nd Amendment bills out there that I'm fighting but I'm glad that we at least were able to pass out a bill to actually go after the bad guys using illegal guns for a change.
Also, I want to give credit to the Senate President Bill Ferguson and JPR Committee Chairman Will Smith for working closely with Governor Hogan, myself and the other JPR Republican Senators. We have a lot of disagreements but this was actually a good example of the right way to work together in state government on what should be a non-partisan issue - public safety.
2. Major Sales Tax Increase Dead - But Stay Tuned!
On Wednesday, the proposed largest tax increase in Maryland history was defeated! A subcommittee in the House of Delegates unanimously voted to reject this bill last night. Citizens like you who signed the petition, emailed, and called your legislators made this happen. But don’t get complacent. The Kirwan education plan is still moving forward with a hefty price tag – we all need to keep the pressure on to oppose legislation that would raise your taxes. The same subcommittee put forward a combined package of several smaller increases totaling $700 Million - which as large as any one O'Malley tax hike. Obviously, I will fight that just as hard....see below:
Annapolis Terms You Need to Know - VIDEO:
This is a good time to learn about how Annapolis' liberal establishment uses terms and words designed to obscure their true intentions...click on image below to watch my latest video:
Carroll County Projects Receive Funding from Project Open Space
The following Carroll County projects received approval from the Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space funding:
-Deer Park (Westminster): $72,000 to replace the tot lot with new equipment and safety surfacing consistent with National Playground Safety Standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
-Bear Branch Nature Center (Westminster): $243,000 to replace the Center’s 20-year old roof.
-201 Main Street Park (New Windsor): $81,128 to develop a passive park, including a paved patio, walkway, pergola, benches, tables, lighting and landscaping.
Coronavirus Update for Maryland:
Governor Larry Hogan announced this week that Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory has been approved for testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This means that rather than waiting for test results from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs in Atlanta, Georgia, people who are suspected to have COVID-19 may be diagnosed faster through the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) labs in Baltimore.
Yesterday the Maryland Department of Health briefed the legislature on the status of the Coronavirus.
Below are some highlights from the briefing and the Maryland Dept. of Health is also updating this website daily: https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx. I hope you find this information useful.
If you are or know a high school senior or college student, please consider applying for a Senatorial Scholarship. For more information or to request an application, email Emily Van Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full address. Scholarships will accepted up to April 10, 2020.
It is my honor to represent you in the Maryland General Assembly. Again, your feedback and ideas are always welcome at SenatorReady@gmail.com or by contacting my office.