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Steve's News From Annapolis


Wow! Wasn’t the Raven victory great? Not only did it give us another reason to be proud of Baltimore and Maryland, but it has been a terrific moral and economic boost for all of us. Congratulations to the team.

On a sad note, Delegate Hattie Harrison, the longest serving current member, died at the age of 84. Del. Harrison was the first African American to chair a standing committee in the House and the first to chair the Rules Committee. Her knowledge and counsel will be missed.

On another serious note, you may have seen or heard about the House of Delegates’ public reprimand of Delegate William “Tony” McConkey of Anne Arundel County. This action was recommended by the Joint Committee on Ethics after it determined that the Delegate’s efforts to amend a bill last year was an ethics breach since it would have benefitted him directly. This is the first such ethics sanction in more than twenty-five years. It was a sad and sobering day in the House as we took action to uphold the integrity of the legislature.

During the past couple of weeks I have been visited by students, educators, business owners and advocates on issues of recycling, mental health care, veterans, historic preservation and non-profits. The Environmental Matters Committee finished up a series of briefings on the budget, growth demands and management, speed cameras and the Bay and has begun bill hearings.

Two of my bills will be heard Thursday: HB 263, HB263 providing for an increase in the percentage of historic preservation tax credits, and HB 108, HB108 which expands the opportunities for non-profits to raise funds through tax credits. The hybrid (partly elected and partly appointed) school board bill, HB 413, HB413  now has a hearing date of February 13. The County House delegation will hear the bill this Friday, February 8.  If you are interested in submitting testimony on these or other bills, feel free to contact my Legislative Aide, Marsha Tracey, at 410-841-3487 to find out the best way to do so.

I filed a bill this week that would set new standards for recycling and to reduce the waste that goes into our landfills. Not only are we running out of land where we can deposit our waste, technologies are improving so that greater percentages of recycling and waste reduction can be achieved over the next fifteen years.

I have also received a lot of responses, and many constructive comments, on my positions regarding the Governor’s gun, death penalty, wind energy and early voting bills. While I do not agree with the positions of all who wrote me, I appreciate hearing your specific feelings and opinions on some of the most difficult issues we will face this year.

I have been honored to have been named by the Speaker to the Baltimore Regional Revitalization work group which will examine state policies regarding the present and future of the Baltimore region. This allows me to use my knowledge and expertise to address issues that the Baltimore City and County’s older suburbs face. I expect that we will look at a range of issues, including education, transportation, workforce needs and community redevelopment and stabilization.

And, back in the district, I have been able to attend a number of events.  I was pleased to honor Neville Jacobs for his outstanding service as the President of the Pikesville-Greenspring Community Council. Neville has been a strong and creative leader. Also, I met two smart Carver High culinary arts students at the Charles Village Pub Chili Cook-Off. They made an excellent vegetarian chili that was the best of the group, I thought. I also had the chance to meet with representatives of St. Joseph’s Hospital who are planning to engage the community as the “new” St. Joe’s has become a part of the University of Maryland Medical System. I think the relationship with UMMS and the Medical School will be a terrific benefit to the Towson area.

Lastly, let me commend County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Police Chief Jim Johnson and Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance for working together to develop a strong school security policy and program. School safety has to be at the top of our list for the well-being of children, educators and the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at or at 410-841-3487.

Steve Lafferty

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