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Steve's News From Annapolis


The past two weeks feel like we have started a second Session. The time, energy and emotions required in the first 35 days were demanding.  The vote on marriage equality not only brought on great elation but marked a new beginning of sorts.

State Budget and Potential Tax Changes

I have heard from a lot of people about the Governor’s proposed taxes and State budget. Most of the comments indicate that we should have no tax increases and government programs and funds should be cut.

At this point, it looks like the Governor’s plan to reduce the mortgage interest deduction may be dead and that the massive shift of pension obligations to the Counties won’t take place. There are a lot of other ideas on the table, including “level funding” at last year’s rates, increasing the income tax for those who have higher incomes, eliminating various tax credits and cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from education.

 I don’t expect the full budget picture to jell for a couple of weeks. And, this includes the gas tax. I know that we need more money for transportation and a gas tax is the best potential source. However, I do not like the timing. Gas prices continue to soar while businesses and jobs are not growing. It will wait to see what is finally proposed but cannot support the Governor’s plan as it stands.

While many want me to oppose all tax increases and others do not want their particular programs cut, I think it is irresponsible to categorically say I will oppose all tax increases or oppose all program cuts. There must a balance if we are going to continue to support education, meet public safety needs and meet our Medicaid obligations. The question is: where is that balance?

 Marriage Equality

The legislature has passed, and Governor O’Malley has signed, legislation which makes Maryland the eighth state to legalize same sex marriage. As I have previously said, I voted for this important legislation. I see it as a civil rights issue and do not believe that marriages between men and women will be harmed or reduced.

Baltimore County School Board

Efforts to find a different way to choose the Board of Education of the Baltimore County Public Schools have been on-going since I was elected in 2006.  We have considered an appointments commission, a hybrid and a fully elected system of choosing the women and men who lead our school system.

The County House delegation with bi-partisan support, voted for a fully elected nine member Board. This past week, the County Senate delegation met and voted for a hybrid Board that would have seven elected and four appointed members. Since we have different proposals, we have to come together to reconcile differences, if we are going to change from the fully appointed Board.

Legislative Redistricting

The Governor’s proposed redistricting plan has now become law. When it takes effect in the 2014 election, District 42 will continue to have a single Senator (currently Sen. Jim Brochin). There will be a new, single Delegate sub-district (42A) for the communities inside the Beltway to the city line and from Charles Street to Loch Raven Boulevard. The new sub-district 42B will continues to include Lutherville, Timonium and parts of Loch Raven Village and will include a large part of the northern County.

Please let me know if you have questions about the redistricting.

Other Legislation and Issues

There are a lot of other important bills that may be of interest to you. This includes a wide range job creation, criminal penalties and legal representation, protections for children against lead paint poisoning, animal abuse and cruelty, funding the cost of controlling storm water run-off, how the state’s Health Care Exchange will work, recycling, condominium operations and many others. You can look at pending bills by going to

Early Voting

Primary election day in Maryland is now April 3. The State’s Early Voting will be held between March 24 and March 29 at voting centers throughout the County. The closest poll for those in the 42nd District is the Towson University Administration Building at York Road and Cross Campus Drive. Except for Sunday, March 25, the voting centers are open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day. For addresses, directions and other information, go to

Some Local Matters

I was pleased to see that Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources seeks to include nearly $400,000 for projects in FY 2013. I will share more detail when I get it.

Thanks to Delegate Aumann for working with the State Highway Administration (“SHA”) on the Dulaney Valley Road problems. Public safety is critical for all who use that busy road.

I have been in touch with SHA and with the City about the persistent water problem at York and Stevenson. The City has not found the source of the leak but I have pushed SHA to continue to monitor it so that – as temperatures drop- we don’t have icing problems.

Again, congratulations to Dr. Adam Riess. Dr. Riess, a 2011 Nobel Prize winner from Towson, was recently recognized and honored by the legislature for his extraordinary work. A Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins, he lead a team that discovered the expansion rate of the universe is expanding due to”dark energy”. It was thrill to have Dr. Riess and his wife with us.

I continue to appreciate all of the calls, letters and emails about issues that are important to you. Please feel free to contact me at 410-841-3487 or at

Best wishes,


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