Com­mis­sion­ers, leg­is­la­tors re­flect on leg­isla­tive ses­sion

South­ern Mary­land Del­e­ga­tion sat­is­fied with work done this year in An­napo­lis

Maryland Independent - - News - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­

Over the 90 days in the state’s Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion there are count­less de­bates on both the house floor and the senate floor. Some bills get passed, some re­main stag­nant and some are just scrapped.

But for the Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, the ses­sion should be con­sid­ered a suc­cess­ful one. There were bills they pro­posed that did not get passed such as HB 1372 that would have opened the door for more pun­ish­ment with syn­thetic mar­i­juana.

But there were also bills that did pass such as the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment between the county and the sher­iff’s of­fice match­ing of­fi­cer’s pay sched­ule with that of the Mary­land State Po­lice. The South­ern Mary­land del­e­ga­tion also se­cured fu­ture fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions for the re­place­ment of the Gov. Harry Nice Memo­rial Bridge.

“I think we, over­all, had a pretty suc­cess­ful leg­isla­tive ses­sion,” County Com­mis­sioner’s Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D) said.

Mur­phy said the county hired the lob­by­ing firm of Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson to lobby pro­posed bills from the Board of County Com­mis­sion­ers to the South­ern Mary­land Del­e­ga­tion.

County Com­mis­sioner Amanda Ste­wart (D) said she was re­ally hop­ing to see move­ment on the bill ban­ning the pur­chase of syn­thetic drugs. She said she was “sur­prised” by the bill not re­turn­ing with a fa­vor­able re­port.

Syn­thetic drugs have been prob­lems within school sys­tems around the state, Ste­wart said, and the bill will likely be re­vis­ited down the line.

But, Ste­wart said, she was sat­is­fied with the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment between the county and the sher­iff’s of­fice.

“I was very pleased that that passed. It will be ben­e­fi­cial, def­i­nitely for the sher­iff, but from the county side too,” Ste­wart said. “We know how the salaries are sched­uled. That’s a win-win for both sides. I know some folks weren’t too ex­cited about it, but in the end I think it’ll be good.”

Mary­land Senate Pres­i­dent Thomas Mike V. Miller Jr. (D-Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s, Calvert) said there was “ex­cep­tional work” done for South­ern Mary­land, not only with the Charles County del­e­ga­tion, but for the state, he said.

The bill he is proud of, he said, is the jus­tice rein­vest­ment bill, which is sup­posed to keep “mi­nor” drug of­fend­ers from go­ing in the pri­son sys­tem, help them find re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion op­tions and keep them from re­cidi­vism back into prisons.

But, over­all, Miller said, Sen. Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles) did a “great” job fight­ing for bills in Charles County and man­aged to se­cure fund­ing for the Nice Bridge.

“The Harry Nice Bridge is not go­ing to be left be­hind. And it was a very good ses­sion in terms of in­creas­ing aid to ed­u­ca­tion and also in­creas­ing money to the com­mu­nity col­leges,” Miller said.

Miller said the house and senate wanted to move for­ward on estab­lish­ing paid sick leave laws in the state, but the bills per­tain­ing to that never moved for­ward.

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