District 6 delegation discusses legislative session at town hall
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.