Commissioners, legislators reflect on legislative session
Southern Maryland Delegation satisfied with work done this year in Annapolis
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.