Mary­land Leg­isla­tive Weekly Wrap-Up

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By SEN. AD­DIE ECKARDT R-37-Mid-Shore

— All com­mit­tee hear­ings are live-streamed on the Mary­land Gen­eral As­sem­bly web­site. If you are un­able to at­tend hear­ings, please visit http://mga­leg.mar yland.gov to stay up­dated.

Se­nate Bill 343 — Bay Restora­tion Fund (BRF) will be heard in Ed­u­ca­tion, Health, and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee next week. I will be tes­ti­fy­ing in fa­vor of this leg­is­la­tion at 1 p.m. Tues­day, Feb. 7. This pro­posed bill will ex­pand the BRF el­i­gi­ble costs to in­clude 100 per­cent BRF grant el­i­gi­bil­ity for se­condary waste­water treat­ment plants that are up­grad­ing to En­hanced Nu­tri­ent Re­moval (ENR) tech­nol­ogy. SB 343 would sig­nif­i­cantly make up­grades to mi­nor Waste­water Treat­ment Plants mak­ing them more af­ford­able to users. Please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact my of­fice if you would like to tes­tify, or pro­vide writ­ten tes­ti­mony to the com­mit­tee.

I will also be tes­ti­fy­ing in front of the Bud­get and Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee next week on three sep­a­rate In­come Tax Leg­is­la­tion. Se­nate Bill 236, 237, and 238 will be heard in com­mit­tee at 1 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Feb. 8. These In­come Tax ini­tia­tives would help level the play­ing field for all Mary­lan­ders. If you wish to sub­mit writ­ten tes­ti­mony to the Bud­get and Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee, please con­tact my of­fice.

High­way User Rev­enue Leg­is­la­tion

A num­ber of bills to re­store High­way User Rev­enue funds will be sub­mit­ted to the Gen­eral As­sem­bly this year. Each pro­posal brings with it dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on restor­ing funds and re-in­vest­ing in lo­cal in­fra­struc­tures. Restor­ing High­way User Rev­enues will as­sist lo­cal gov­ern­ments with proper main­te­nance and en­hanc­ing safety for all mo­torists. Un­for­tu­nately lo­cal road­ways are lack­ing proper main­te­nance and many pub­lic in­fra­struc­tures are ne­glected. The Bud­get and Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee will re­view each pro­posal and work to find the best so­lu­tion to help off­set State fund­ing re­duc­tions and de­clin­ing rev­enues. I be­lieve this is pack­age is es­sen­tial for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment on the East­ern Shore and ru­ral ar­eas. I will be fol­low­ing this is­sue closely and will pro­vide up­dates in fu­ture weekly wrapups.

Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s Ed­u­ca­tion Pack­age

Gov­er­nor Ho­gan an­nounced new ini­tia­tives last week to im­prove ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties within Mary­land.

Cur­rently, Mary­land has one of the weak­est pub­lic char­ter school laws in the na­tion, mak­ing them un­able to com­pete for mil­lions of dol­lars in fed­eral Char­ter School Pro­gram grants. The Pub­lic School Char­ter Act will cre­ate the in­de­pen­dent Mary­land Pub­lic Char­ter School Au­thor­ity, which will in­crease au­ton­omy for the schools. The leg­is­la­tion also al­lows fund­ing to flow di­rectly from the state, rather than the lo­cal board of ed­u­ca­tion, which has gen­er­ally funded char­ter schools with less money.

Mary­land Ed­u­ca­tion In­no­va­tion Fund, an­nounced by the Gov­er­nor, en­cour­ages in­no­va­tion in the class­room. The al­lo­ca­tion will be used to pro­vide grants to seed ed­u­ca­tion in­no­va­tion through­out the state. The grants of­fered are one-year, up to $10,000. The bill also pro­vides fund­ing for the P-Tech (Path­ways in Tech­nol­ogy Early Col­lege High School) pro­gram. This pro­gram com­bines high school, col­lege, and work­place skills which are re­quired for 21st cen­tur y jobs.

Click on this link to read more about the Gov­er­nor’s re­cent Press Re­leases — http:// gov­er­nor.mary­land.gov/cat­e­gor y/press-re­leases/.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, wel­comes Dorch­ester County Page Le­mya Reeves of East New Mar­ket to her team.

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