September 21, 2017
Politics & Opinion
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The End Of Session

Senator Ed Reilly
Senator Ed Reilly's picture
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May 3, 2017

Budget

Governor Larry Hogan’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which goes into effect on July 1, 2017, fully funds state obligations while having fiscal restraint. For the third year in a row, there are no new fees or taxes in the state budget. This is an operating budget of $17.1 billion. When Governor Hogan took office in 2015, he inherited an accumulated structural deficit, (previously obligated expenditures greater than the anticipated revenues), of $5.1 billion. In his first year, almost 90 percent of this deficit had been eliminated. The governor’s 2018 budget provides for an additional $6.4 billion for educational projects, bringing the total amount of money invested into education during this administration to $19 billion. This includes $12.5 billion for kindergarten through grade 12 – the largest amount ever budgeted by Maryland. The governor also introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2017, which will move excess end-of-year money in the budget into the Rainy Day Fund for future years when spending outpaces revenues.

Healthy Working Families Act — Senate Bill 230/House Bill 1

This bill was passed in both the House and Senate by veto-proof margins. The bill requires companies with 15 or more workers to have five paid sick leave days per year. For a 15-employee firm, this equates to 75 days for a company to pay. An employee must work at least a 12-hour workweek, and may not be eligible to use the leave before working at least 106 calendar days for the company. This 106-day provision was added for the small businesses that hire seasonal employees. The bill has been sent to the governor, who said he will veto the legislation. Expect it to return in the 2018 legislative session on a veto override.

I voted against this bill.

Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) — House Bill 1325

The moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is set to expire in October 2017. This year’s legislation was passed and signed into law by Governor Hogan to totally ban fracking in Maryland.

I voted in favor of this bill.

Redistricting — Senate Bill 252 (Governor Hogan’s Bill) and Senate Bill 1023 (Senator Zucker)

Redistricting has been a hot-button topic in Maryland for many years. Currently, the Maryland congressional districts are drawn to give the Democrats a solid seven-member congressional delegation. Senate Bill 252, proposed by Governor Hogan, was a nonpartisan bill to redraw the congressional and legislative districts to better reflect the voters of Maryland. This bill, designed to have a citizens commission redraw the districts, was not considered by the House or Senate.

Senate Bill 1023 creates a mid-Atlantic nonpartisan regional commission that requires the states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania pass similar citizen-driven congressional redistricting bills. This legislation was passed, but if an agreement with the listed five states is not reached by December 31, 2020, the bill will not take effect.

I voted against the bill.

Sanctuary State Bill — House Bill 1362

The House of Delegates passed House Bill 1362, which essentially would make Maryland a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. This bill would have affected all police officers and sheriff deputies in Maryland. Law enforcement officials would not have been able to inquire about anyone’s immigration status, citizenship status or place of birth during a stop, search or arrest. They would not have been able to transfer a person who had been arrested to federal immigration authorities, unless the transfer was required under federal law. Law enforcement officers would need a judicial warrant to transfer an individual to federal immigration authorities for purposes of immigration enforcement, detain an individual solely for the purposes of immigration enforcement, or notify federal immigration authorities of an individual’s location or address. In the final days of session, this bill died in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.


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