State law­mak­ers say progress was made in ses­sion

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CHERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Ce­cil County’s del­e­ga­tion to the Mary­land Gen­eral Assembly told Ce­cil County Cham­ber of Com­merce mem­bers Mon­day morn­ing that this ses­sion had gains and losses, but is the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year with­out new taxes.

The govern­ment re­la­tions committee of the Ce­cil County Cham­ber of Com­merce hosted the leg­isla­tive wrap-up break­fast, spon­sored by W.L. Gore, at the Minker Ban­quet Hall in Per­ryville.

Of­fi­cials re­ported that out of the 10 county-gen­er­ated bills in­tro­duced this ses­sion, one was with­drawn, three failed and six passed.

“All of the bills that passed will im­pact busi­ness in a pos­i­tive way in Ce­cil County,” Del­e­gate Kevin Horn­berger (R-35A-Ce­cil) said.

As chair­man of the Ce­cil County del­e­ga­tion, Horn­berger said the suc­cess­ful lo­cal bills in­cluded rais­ing the sher­iff’s salary, investing land­fill clo­sure funds to gain higher in­ter­est, al­low­ing Ara­bian horses to be added to the list of horses that can race at Fair Hill Race Track, a mar­riage li­cense bill and a bill to al­low mi­cro­brew­eries should help the county.

Horn­berger is dis­ap­pointed that the bill to re­duce the tax rate paid by Hol­ly­wood Casino Per­ryville failed to make it out of committee, but be­lieves it may get more sup­port next year.

State Sen. Stephen Her­shey (R-36-Up­per Shore), who serves as mi­nor­ity whip in the se­nate, said he feels the big­gest is­sue fac­ing Dis­trict 36 this year was the pos­si­ble clo­sure of Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Ch­ester­town.

“We were able to prevent its clo­sure for four more years while a study is be­ing done on health care de­liv­ery in ru­ral Mary­land ar­eas,” he said.

While leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing the of­fer­ing of paid sick leave for em­ploy­ees didn’t pass this ses­sion, Her­shey be­lieves it will even­tu­ally pass.

“I think all small busi­ness own­ers should keep an eye on this bill and be pre­pared to of­fer amend­ments to make it less oner­ous,” he said.

Del­e­gate Steve Arentz (R36-Queen Anne’s) said the sick leave bill this ses­sion was “dev­as­tat­ing.”

“It will come back, maybe this sum­mer if there’s a spe­cial ses­sion to ad­dress it,” he said.

Del­e­gate Jay Ja­cobs (R36-Kent) is frus­trated that so many law­mak­ers who

PER­RYVILLE

have no per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with agri­cul­ture of­fer bills to reg­u­late it.

“Some of these peo­ple have never stepped on a farm,” he said. “Luck­ily, we were able to kill many of the anti-farm bills.”

He de­scribed a bill passed on the fi­nal day of ses­sion that leg­is­lates $750 mil­lion be spent over 10 years to fund the Harry Nice Bridge re­place­ment as “very dan­ger­ous.” Ja­cobs fears it could set a prece­dent for law­mak­ers to leg­is­late more costly cap­i­tal projects with no way to pay for it.

“This will end up be­ing paid for by a toll in­crease,” he warned.

Del­e­gate Teresa Reilly (R-35B-Har­ford/Ce­cil) is most proud of the work she did on the war­rant in­ter­cept bill to get it out of committee so it could get a floor vote and even­tu­ally pass this ses­sion.

“This was a huge win,” said Del­e­gate Jeff Ghrist (R-36-Caroline), who sits on the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Committee. “We have an out­stand­ing team. We are very well re­spected in An­napo­lis.”

Del­e­gate An­drew Cas­silly (R-35B-Har­ford/Ce­cil) said that even though Repub­li­cans re­main the mi­nor­ity party in the Gen­eral Assembly he thinks they made pos­i­tive ground this year.

“We were able to kill a num­ber of bad bills,” he said, not­ing Mary­land is mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CHERYL MATTIX

Mem­bers of the Ce­cil County del­e­ga­tion re­viewed bills con­sid­ered dur­ing the re­cently ended Gen­eral Assembly ses­sion in An­napo­lis for county cham­ber mem­bers Mon­day.

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