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Annapolis legislators say session productive so far

Maryland FlagWith votes taking place on the House and Senate floors in the final weeks of the 2018 Maryland legislative session in Annapolis, two members of Montgomery County’s delegation are satisfied with their accomplishments so far.

“I think we managed to do a lot of legislation that directly benefits our constituents, everything from … firearms to the environment to economic development,” said Del. Kirill Reznik (D-District 39) who represents parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village.

Sen. Susan Lee (D-District 16), who represents Bethesda and Potomac, echoed Reznik’s comments saying “I think we got a lot done so far.”

Both legislators introduced numerous bills throughout the session.

Reznik, a member of the Appropriations and Health and Social Services Committees, noted his bills addressing Election Day voter registration and net neutrality while Lee, who sits on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said additions to the 2013 Firearms Safety Act and numerous bills pertaining to identity theft as her most significant accomplishments.

While current law allows voters to register the same day they vote, Reznik’s bill, HB0532, would allow eligible voters to register on Election Day as currently allowed in 16 other states. The bill will be put to the voters in November as a constitutional referendum.

Reznik added he worked on the bill “for about a decade” and was “very happy” to see it pass the legislature.

In response to the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules in December 2017, Reznik introduced a bill to preserve net neutrality at the state level. HB1655 would prohibit the state from contracting with internet service providers that block certain web content.

Reznik combined HB1655 with Del. Bill Frick’s (D-District 16) HB1654 which has yet to pass the House, and also included provisions on the handling of personal information of their customers.

The third-term delegate also introduced HB0660 aimed at establishing a single-payer healthcare system at the state level. The bill did not make it through the Health and Government Operations Committee and Reznik added he “did not expect” it to pass.

Lee, who previously served in the House from 2002 before being elected to the Senate in 2014, introduced a bill amending how the state can legally intervene in incidents that involve threats of mass violence.

Current law only allows state’s attorneys to charge an individual threatening to carry out mass violence if five or more people know of the threat.

Introduced in response to recent bomb threats on Walter Johnson and Winston Churchill high schools, Lee’s bill, SB1250, which still needs to pass the House, simplifies the law to allow state’s attorneys to intervene if five or more people are also unknowingly threatened.

Less also co-sponsored Maryland’s ban on bump stocks, SB0707, which passed the State Senate but yet to pass the House.

“We want to make sure then parents send their kids to school, we don’t want them harmed or killed,” she added referring to the October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas and February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Continuing her work on cybersecurity and human trafficking, Lee also introduced bills entitling residents to free credit freezes and updates to prosecuting human traffickers and victim services. SB0881 establishes sex trafficking, labor trafficking and forced marriage as separate criminal offenses while SB0202 prohibits consumer reporting agencies from charging a fee for credit freezes.

Both legislators also expressed their experiences in working with Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

“He [Hogan] doesn’t come and testify on his priority legislation,” Reznik said. “He chooses not to engage with us … we engage with his staff and that seems to work to some degree.”

“We work together … unlike Congress … we’re down here passing laws for our citizens,” Lee added.

@Nickolaiss

 

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