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Hogan proposes term limits for Maryland General Assembly

  • Published in State

Maryland FlagMaryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) hopes a term limits bill he proposed last week will end the Democratic Party’s “corruption” and control of the General Assembly by limiting delegates and state senators to two four-year terms.

“Our founding fathers never envisioned professional politicians who spend their entire careers in office; what they intended was citizen legislators who would represent their constituents and then return back home to their real jobs,” Hogan said during a press conference in Annapolis last week. “The rise of professional politicians has led to out-of-control partisanship, the stifling of honest debate and fresh ideas, rampant gerrymandering, one-party monopolies, and an increased potential for the type of corruption that our administration has been fighting to root out,” said the governor.

Hogan’s proposed bill, the Government Accountability Act of 2018, would limit state delegates and senators to two consecutive four-year terms. If passed, the proposal would put state legislatures in line with the governor, who is currently limited to two four-year terms.

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2018 Maryland Legislative Preview

  • Published in State

Sen. Craig Zucker (D14)

D14 Craig ZuckerSen. Craig Zucker COURTESY PHOTOZucker said he is wary of potential federal cuts that could impact the state -- including cuts to programs for keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean. The General Assembly should be aware of such cuts during the budget process, Zucker said, adding that the Trump administration has created new expectations for the state. 

“We have to be proactive in our budgeting,” Zucker said.

In addition to funding for the Chesapeake Bay, Zucker emphasized that state funding for Montgomery County Public Schools is as key an issue for the County's delegation to Annapolis as it is for local elected leaders.

“I think it's important to make sure to meet our commitment on our education spending and on the capital side to make sure we are investing in our school construction,” he said.

Zucker said he plans to introduce a bill that would reverse a state law about serving alcohol to people with developmental disabilities. Currently in Maryland bars and restaurants can deny serving alcohol to of age adults with developmental disabilities. Zucker said his bill would make that illegal.

“That is not fair; it’s an equity thing,” he said.

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Kagan briefs Gaithersburg on legislature

  • Published in Local

GAITHERSBURG Senator Cheryl C. Kagan (D-17) came to Gaithersburg City Hall Tuesday night to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council on the issues she would prioritize in the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly.

“I have had two constituents die when 911 failed,” Kagan said. She said she would pursue legislation to improve and modernize 911 service. “In a lot of the country, you can text 911. In Gaithersburg, you can’t. If there’s a bad guy in your house, you should be able to text 911. Currently, Frederick County is the only jurisdiction in Maryland where you can text 911. Montgomery County is moving in that direction, but I don’t think they’re moving fast enough.”

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Takoma Park sets priorities for legislature

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council laid out the municipality’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session in front of the District 20 delegation, taking into account the likelihood of budget cuts in next year's legislative session. 

“Takoma Park has a very active citizenry, and the government is very proactive here about getting these kinds of conversations going,” Del. David Moon (D) said after the meeting. 

Moon, who is the only member of the delegation to reside in the Takoma Park, explained that the state and county governments are facing major budget shortfalls that would complicate the policymaking environment in Annapolis.

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State senator defends future frontline Metro workers’ pensions

  • Published in Local

GAITHERSBURG – A state senator representing Montgomery County on Thursday defended pensions for future Metro employee pensions, which the general manager proposed replacing with fixed contribution, and suggested changes for state funding of Metro.

State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D- 18) said after a news conference Thursday he believes the presence of pensions and sufficient benefits improves Metro workers’ performance in their jobs.

Madaleno cited a 2015 article by Justin Wolfers and Jan Zilinsky of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who said, on the basis of numerous studies, that workers with higher wages and pensions were likely to perform better as employees because they were happier.

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Proposed bill on past sex assault evidence fails

gavel2 1 Every legislative session of course includes bills, some that were part of the Governor’s legislative agenda, which are not passed by the General Assembly. Often such proposals are brought back in succeeding years, and this year’s legislative session was no exception. This session saw failure of a proposal that would allow evidence of past sexual crimes under certain circumstances.

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MoCo delegation satisfied with legislative session

  • Published in Local

Three members of Montgomery County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly say they are satisfied with their achievements of the 2017 legislative session.

"The 2017 session was quite productive in terms of getting some progressive legislation passed that had been stalled for years," said Del. David Moon (D-20) who represents Takoma Park.

"It was a really busy session, we got a lot done," said Del. Kirill Reznik (D-39) who represents Germantown and Montgomery Village. "From a progressive point of view, from a productive point of view, I think it was a very good session," he added.

The legislation which passed into law included paid sick leave, a fracking ban, and changes to the crime of rape.

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Barve and Kagan brief G-burg on legislature

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg Govt logo

GAITHERSBURG – Legislators from the 17th District visited City Hall Monday night to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council on key issues addressed in the recently concluded legislative session.

Del. Kumar Barve (D), chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee, discussed the “thorny” issue of stormwater management fees and securing reimbursement from Montgomery County for Gaithersburg and Rockville.

Barve noted that he drafted legislation to negotiate a compromise between the County and municipal governments that passed his committee and the House of Delegates by a wide majority but that it stalled in the Senate because the chairman there was “skittish” about the issue.

“I think I have a way around the problem. I don’t want to say what it is yet, but I think next year will be the charm,” Barve said. “I was very heartened to hear representatives from Montgomery County government tell me that regardless of whether a bill passes next year or not – and I’m very committed to passing a bill – that they felt that the negotiated compromise we were able to get to was a good template.”

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State passes law to provide private ownership of liquor stores in Montgomery

  • Published in Local

A new Maryland law will finally soon provide relief to booze-thirsty residents.

A new law that passed in the General Assembly will allow beer and wine stores in the County to apply for a license to sell liquor. Currently all liquor stores in the County are owned by the County, while beer and wine stores are privately-owned expanding businesses where residents can buy liquor.

“I think it will allow the retails to grow and I think they will sell a little more,” said Del. Charles E. Barkley (D-39), who co-sponsored the bill in the House of Delegates.

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Franchot looks to reform alcohol laws

  • Published in State

The state comptroller said Tuesday he is starting an alcohol task force to review state laws because the state is more “restrictive” on craft breweries than every other state in the country.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said he wants to see reform in Maryland alcohol laws. He said the task force, called Reform on Tap, will meet at breweries across the state and discuss concerns about existing laws as well as ideas for new legislation to propose to the General Assembly. Stakeholders such as breweries would make up the task force.

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