Dis­trict 6 del­e­ga­tion dis­cusses leg­isla­tive ses­sion at town hall

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

On Wed­nes­day, April 12, the del­e­gates of Dis­trict 6 held a town hall in Es­sex to re­cap the events of this year’s Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly.

State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6), Del. Robin Gram­mer (R-6) and Del. Ric Met­z­gar (R-6), and Del. Bob Long (R-6) cel­e­brated two bills that were killed in the Se­nate. One was the con­tro­ver­sial HB1362, or the “sanc­tu­ary state bill” that would’ve made gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials im­mune from prose­cu­tion for re­fus­ing the pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on a cit­i­zen’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus to im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

“That went down in flames at the Se­nate. It was a pure cit­i­zen up­ris­ing there. The only rea­son that that bill failed was be­cause the peo­ple were up in arms and they were putting such a rad­i­cal amount of pres­sure on the Se­nate,” said Gram­mer.

The other failed bill was HB172 which would have mod­i­fied Sec­tion 8 hous­ing re­quire­ments to pre­vent land­lords from dis­crim­i­nat­ing against res­i­dents us­ing hous­ing as­sis­tance vouch­ers.

“Peo­ple in Es­sex and com­mu­ni­ties of South­east Bal­ti­more County are adamantly against it [the hous­ing bill]. With the pres­sure that was gen­er­ated on the sanc­tu­ary state is­sue, the Se­nate was just not hav­ing any kind of drama and they didn’t even take the Sec­tion 8 bill up in com­mit­tee,” con­tin­ued Gram­mer.

Long then dis­cussed the pas­sage of his bill HB1323, which pro­vides a five-year prop­erty tax credit for home­own­ers who do im­prove­ments to di­lap­i­dated hous­ing in des­ig­nated re­vi­tal­iza­tion dis­tricts. He said the state law would re­vi­tal­ize older neigh­bor­hoods while re­duc­ing the num­ber of fore­clo­sures and aban­doned homes, while ad­dress­ing qual­ity of life is­sues like rat erad­i­ca­tion and trash re­moval.

“We want to get home­own­ers back into the dis­trict, peo­ple that have skin in the game and take care of the prop­erty,” he said.

All four del­e­gates praised the pas­sage of Gov. Hogan’s sup­ple­men­tal bud­get.

“It was a bal­anced bud­get, it did not in­clude any taxes or fees. It re­duced the struc­tural deficit by 90%,” said Salling. “The Gov­er­nor con­tin­ues to make de­ci­sions to hold a tight line on over­spend­ing. Over­all, the great­est thing about this is no taxes, ev- ery­body should be happy about that.”

Sev­eral lo­cal projects re­ceived fund­ing in­clud­ing $2 mil­lion for Med­star Franklin Square Hos­pi­tal and $4 mil­lion for the con­struc­tion of the Dun­dalk Readi­ness Cen­ter on North­point Blvd. CCBC’s Es­sex cam­pus was also given $9 mil­lion to fund the ex­pan­sion and con­struc­tion of their new health ca­reer and tech­nol­ogy cen­ter.

Also in­cluded in the bud­get was $80,000 for Ch­e­sa­peake High School that will be used for turf and sta­dium ren­o­va­tions.

“It will al­low Ch­e­sa­peake High School to build their sta­dium seat­ing that they’ve been pur­su­ing for sev­eral years,” said Gram­mer.

When asked about his ex­pec­ta­tions for the 2018 ses­sion, Salling said he ex­pects to be chal­lenged.

“I think An­napo­lis will get a lot more fiery. I think we’ll see a lot more fire and brim­stone down there next year,” Gram­mer added.

Met­z­gar added that he plans on “work­ing on mak­ing good bills bet­ter” and “go­ing big­ger” dur­ing next year’s ses­sion.

“What I re­al­ize was this year that it was more im­por­tant to make gov­ern­ment smaller and co-spon­sor bills rather than make the gov­ern­ment larger and put lots of bills in,” he ex­plained.

Long said he ex­pects the peo­ple to be more out­spo­ken on the is­sues as the next Gen­eral Assem­bly ramps us.

“Politi­cians are go­ing in there and just say­ing the same old things, do­ing what­ever they’ve got to do. The whole po­lit­i­cal land­scape has changed, look what hap­pened with Trump, peo­ple are tired and had enough,” said Long.

State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6), Del. Robin Gram­mer (R-6), Del. Ric Met­z­gar (R6), and Del. Bob Long (R-6) meet in Mid­dle River.

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