Commissioners preparing for legislative session wishes
Citizens to have chance to speak on proposals Sept. 13
Although the Maryland General Assembly will not begin meeting until January, preparation in local jurisdictions for the upcoming legislative session has begun.
On Sept. 13, the county will hold a public hearing to allow citizens, groups and organizations to propose any legislative proposals or changes to any proposals they feel are needed to the Charles County Board of County Commissioners.
After those proposals are heard, the commissioners will decide whether they want to forward them to Annapolis over the next few months.
With that being said, there are no legislative proposals the county commissioners expect to see, commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) said. He is sure there will be many the commissioners have not heard of or thought of at this point on Sept. 13, but nothing “comes to mind” right now.
There are some departmental bills the county is considering moving forward, but there are not many things set in stone at this point.
“We don’t really know because on the 13th, anybody can present their stuff that night,” Murphy said.
One thing that will be different this year, Murphy said, is that the commissioners will no longer consider bond requests during the hearing.
“We can’t stop anyone from asking for them, but we will no longer be considering them,” Murphy said. “I’m going to make it very clear. The county commissioners are not forwarding any bond bills to the delegation like we’ve done in the past.”
The county does not have control over state money, Murphy said, so they have no control over what requested money goes where. Also, he said, the county does not make a decision on which bond bills will be considered when they are accepted. That is a delegation decision, he said.
“We have no authority to request that a bond bill be drafted and presented,” Murphy said. “We have no control over what bond bills the delegation is going to support and for how much. That all happens in Annapolis.”
The county’s role is to consider which bond bills they will support if the Southern Maryland Delegation chooses to move forward with any. After the meeting on Sept. 13, Del. Edith Patterson (D-Charles), who is now chairwoman of the Charles County delegation, will hold a separate meeting for bond bills.
“I presume she’ll do the same thing again,” Murphy said.
Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said he also does not know what to expect in this year’s legislative package and will have a better idea of what people want to see after the meeting on Sept. 13.
There are not many “hot bed” issues that have been brought up to this point, Robinson said. “We’re interested in hearing what the citizens might have at this point.”
But what Robinson would like to see done during this year’s session is a veto override from the delegation on Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of the legislation last session for the replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.
“I’m hoping for an override of the veto. That’s my biggest hope for the next legislative session,” Robinson said.