Maryland Independent - - Obituaries - Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

Busi­nesses have to be able to find a way to pay for paid sick leave, he said, and tax rates in the state are part of the rea­son they can­not.

The senate pro­posed a tax cut for ev­ery­one in the state, he said, in­clud­ing small busi­nesses, to help busi­nesses make room for paid sick leave, but the bill never moved out of com­mit­tee in the house.

Miller said the state will look at low­er­ing taxes in the fu­ture.

Del. Edith Pat­ter­son (D-Charles) said ed­u­ca­tion was well served over the ses­sion’s 90day pe­riod. Pat­ter­son said she co-spon­sored 108 bills deal­ing with tax cred­its, trans­porta­tion and ed­u­ca­tion.

Pat­ter­son said she was “de­lighted” to be a co-spon­sor on “Noah’s Law” cre­at­ing stiffer pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures for drunk driv­ing in­ter­lock se­cu­rity sys­tems.

Noah’s Law was created af­ter Mont­gomery County po­lice of­fi­cer Noah Leotta was hit by a sus­pected drunk driver on Dec. 3 dur­ing a rou­tine traffic stop. The bill cre­ates more strin­gent li­cense sus­pen­sions for drunk driv­ers and es­tab­lishes more penal­ties for those who refuse breath­a­lyzer tests.

She also co-spon­sored a suc­cess­ful bill on col­lege af­ford­abil­ity, she said.

“We want to look at ways in which peo­ple and fam­i­lies can af­ford col­lege and look at the re­duc­tion or for­give­ness of loans for peo­ple who work in Mary­land,” Pat­ter­son said.

Although ev­ery bill was not suc­cess­ful, Pat­ter­son said, the 90 days in which the gen­eral assem­bly is in ses­sion is just that: 90 days. It takes more ground work to cre­ate suc­cess­ful laws, she said.

“That’s when we re­ally work hard to get leg­is­la­tion and bills passed, but it’s re­ally when we come back home is when the work be­gins,” Pat­ter­son said.

There were sev­eral bills look­ing at home­less­ness, Pat­ter­son said, and some that did not get passed. Pat­ter­son said she plans on work­ing with food bank and hous­ing pro­grams to see if the in­creas­ing home­less pop­u­la­tion in Charles County can be bet­ter tended to.

Pat­ter­son also said she is work­ing to help ad­dress men­tal ill­ness around the state. Those two is­sues take a lot of ground work, she said, to find and cre­ate laws.

Both Ste­wart and Pat­ter­son said see­ing Ji’Aire’s law not mak­ing it out of com­mit­tee was dis­ap­point­ing, but Pat­ter­son said “you have to have patience.”

Ji’Aire’s law was sparked af­ter Romecha Simms of La Plata was found push­ing her 3-year-old son, Ji’Aire Lee, on a swing af­ter the child died from hy­pother­mia and de­hy­dra­tion. Simms has been di­ag­nosed with schizophre­nia and bipo­lar dis­or­der.

Ja’Aire’s law, had it passed, would have set up a work group with a goal of estab­lish­ing help and bet­ter pro­tec­tions for adults with men­tal ill­nesses.

Ste­wart said she can un­der­stand why the bill did not make it out of com­mit­tee. Leg­is­la­tors wanted more time to do re­search, she said, be­fore mov­ing for­ward on it and “that’s fine.”

Pat­ter­son said she knows the bill will re­turn down the line and when it does, she said, she will sup­port it. In the mean­time, she said, she will con­tinue to fight and be an ad­vo­cate for those with men­tal ill­nesses around the state.

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