The 2018 Legislative Session has come to a close. I am honored to represent so many people who take a vested interest in our community. Your input helps me best understand and represent the values and ideas of Southern Maryland.
It was a very busy legislative session with 3,127 bills presented and 890 of these passed. The St. Mary’s Delegation will be sending out the Annapolis Report at the end of the summer which will tell about the new state legislation going into effect this year. So for my end of session letter, I will take the opportunity to share Calvert’s and St. Mary’s local legislation, local State Budget highlights, and my bills.
The St. Mary’s County Delegation submitted six bills this year. Five of those bills passed.
HB 105 will change the fee for a Class C per diem beer license in St. Mary’s County from $10 per day to a $10 per period for which the license is issued.
HB 107 requires the County Treasurer to pay over to the Commissioners of Leonardtown fees received for liquor licenses issued for premises within the limits of the Incorporated town of Leonardtown.
HB110 expands types of programs permitting inmates to leave the Detention and Rehabilitation Center. Any income the inmates receive during this time can be used to pay for services previously funded by the center.
HB275 updates the public local laws for MetCom’s infrastructure programs and funding flexibility.
HB331 gives St. Mary’s County $24.6M bonding authority.
The University System of Maryland Partnership Act (HB1143) passed with only minutes to spare on Sine Die. This bill provides the merger of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in Hollywood and the University of System of Maryland. The partnership will bring a larger variety of classes to the area along with funding. The Delegation worked hard to support this bill.
The Calvert County Delegation submitted 16 bills this year. Ten of those passed.
HB446 allows Calvert’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association members to choose alternates to represent them in the Fire and Rescue Commission.
HB498 provides that the County Commissioners will set the Assistant Sheriff’s salary on appointment.
HB627 allows the spouse or children of a deceased, volunteer firefighter member, over 50 years of age, to receive 50% of the member’s LOSAP benefits.
HB729 increases the amount of money permitted in budget changes before requiring that a resolution be approved by the Commissioners.
HB815 increases the amount of money the county can spend for purchasing contracts for supplies or services without bid from $15,000 to $30,000.
HB1102 and HB 1354 give Calvert County Bonding Authority for a combined $59.66M to finance public infrastructure within the enterprise fund (i.e. water, sewer, solid waste, etc.) and public facilities.
HB1114 allows the County to give preference to a local Calvert County business for bids less than $25,000.
HB1357 alters the salaries of the Board of County Commissioners members, the Sheriff of Calvert County, and the County Treasurer of Calvert County.
HB1459 requires the Calvert County Youth Recreational Opportunities Fund be used to complete the Ward Farm Recreation and Nature Park.
Each year the General Assembly passes an Operational Budget which provides funding for state supported agencies and facilities. Budgeted funding for Education (Primary, Secondary, Libraries and Community Colleges) in St. Mary’s County is $124.8M. Calvert County’s Educational funding is allocated at $99.1M. Funding per pupil is $7K in both counties. Transportation funding for St. Mary’s County totals $1.9M and for Calvert County it is $1.8M. In Calvert County, $3M is funded to finish the MD 2/4 widening project in Prince Frederick. In St. Mary’s County, Leonardtown’s Abell/Moakley Streets improvement will receive $2.2M and MD 5 widening project will receive $4.8M. Additionally, engineering for the Thomas Johnson Bridge is funded at $3.8M.
Direct funding for many well needed projects in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties are included in the Capital and Supplemental Budgets. Some of the special projects for St. Mary’s County include the Navy Alliance’s Innovation Center for Autonomous Systems ($750K), St. Mary’s Nursing Center ($75K), St. Mary’s Detention Center ($731K), Sotterley Foundation ($12K) and Historic St. Mary’s Commission projects – Pavilion ($277K), Maryland Dove ($2M), Dove Pier ($550K), Heritage Center ($1M). Calvert County special projects include the North Beach Fire Department Boat ($100K), Jefferson Patterson Park ($3.8M), Calvert Health System ($1.7M), Calvert Detention Center ($500K), East-John Youth Center ($50K), and Calvert Marine Museum ($50K). Additionally Governor Hogan’s Supplemental Budget added $5M to improve school safety.
This session I sponsored five bills. Last year, the General Assembly passed a bill which gave retired professional emergency personnel a tax break. Since Calvert and St. Mary’s County fire stations are all-volunteer forces, I wanted to help those in our community receive these same benefits. So I sponsored HB37, which would have provided an income tax subtraction modification for retired volunteer fire and EMS personnel. It did not pass, but other legislation this year increased the income tax subtraction for all emergency volunteers.
Calvert County farmers asked me to sponsor HB119, which authorizes a Deer Management Permit be used year-round just as is currently allowed St. Mary’s and Charles Counties. The permit is intended for owners of farms and orchards. The bill allows Calvert County farmers, experiencing crop loss due to deer, to hunt on their land year-round. This bill passed!
Last summer, I began working with the Chesapeake Bay Trust on a bill to increase funding for Bay restoration. HB104, allows individuals who purchase a license, permit, or registration through the DNR electronic licensing system to make a donation to Chesapeake Bay Trust and Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund. This bill passed!
I sponsored three other bills. HB18 which would have eliminated the fee to dissolve corporations. This bill, also put in last year, failed to be voted out of committee by only one vote. HB317 would have allowed fraternal organizations, such as the Elks, to have video lottery gaming machines and give a portion of the proceeds to help homeless veterans. This bill did not make it out of committee. Lastly, I sponsored a bond bill to give East-John Youth Center in Lusby funding for their pool renovations. The committee approved $50,000 for the project and added it to the Capital Budget as a line item.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful community. I am grateful for the trust you have place in me. Keep an eye out for my Annapolis Report. I look forward to see you around this summer.
Delegate Jerry Clark