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Steve's News from Annapolis

2015-02-15

The past few weeks have been quite eventful. Activity throughout the legislature has increased as committees have begun to hold hearings and work on the House floor has increased.  It has been great to see so many constituents stop by and to see advocates visit me to educate me about their issues and to seek my support their positions.

I am honored to have been elected to serve as the Chair of the Baltimore County delegation this year. So far, we rejected a bill that would have allowed Sunday hunting for deer in Baltimore County and are considering bills regarding county sheriffs, educators and communities. We have had briefings from the County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, BCPS Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance and from representatives of Towson University and UMBC about their efforts to address sexual assaults on their campuses.

I have some bills to increase investment in older communities, make Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) more transparent, require motorists to slow down while passing a bicyclist (and staying 3’away), improve certain land use decisions and establish a way for reducing the amount of phosphorous that gets into the Bay. I’ll let you know how my own bills are progressing. To see my bills, you can go to the following link:  Lafferty Legislation .

Two days after he was sworn in, Governor Hogan presented his FY 2016 budget. Two weeks later, he spelled out his agenda in his first State of the State speech.

As he is required by law, the Governor submitted a balanced budget. As state revenues have not met the projections, the state government has an anticipated $750 million shortfall for the coming year. The Governor has chosen to balance the budget by:

·         Reducing funding for public schools from the current funding level, cutting schools by $76 million

·         Reducing police aid to the counties - Baltimore County stands to lose as much as $2.7 million

·         Taking away the 2% cost of living increase that State workers began receiving on January 1

·         Changing the income eligibility under Medicaid so that 1400 pregnant women will be removed from the rolls

·         Reducing funding for Program Open Space from the current funding levels

·         Reducing the funding for community colleges, including approximately $2.2 million for the Community College of Baltimore County

·         Reducing funding for colleges and universities so that tuitions will now increase by 5%

In my opinion, these reductions and cuts will have a serious negative impact on future achievements in public education, the preparation of our workforce, and our obligation to take care of the most vulnerable residents. I know that the House Appropriations Committee is working hard to assess the budget’s impacts on our citizens and communities.

Governor Hogan used his initial State of the State to lay out a number of initiatives that he promised during the campaign. As I sat in the House chamber and listened to him, I was quite disappointed by the tone since he overemphasized the negatives. How can we attract businesses and residents if the governor is so critical of what we are as a state? This negative approach overlooks some important facts:

·         Maryland has been ranked as having the best schools system for 5 straight years and continues to be in the top 3

·         The US Chamber of Commerce ranks Maryland as the best state in the nation for entrepreneurship and innovation and as one of the next 10 “boom” states

·         Maryland has the highest median income in the country

·         Over the past 10 years, college tuitions have fallen from the 6th most expensive to the 27th most expensive in the county

·         Maryland has seen an average of 12,000 new businesses created over the past decade

·         We have established the rights of people to marry, regardless of gender

·         We have increased the protection of citizens from gun crimes while retaining 2nd Amendment protections

We have a lot to be proud of in Maryland. Yes, we can always be better and, as a Delegate, I will continue to take actions that I believe are in the best interests of my constituents and the people and businesses of the state.  I will work in a bi-partisan manner to do so.

I am honored to represent district 42A and look forward to hearing from you about any issues I raise in my newsletters or other issues that are important to you. Feel free to contact me at 410-841-3487 or at Stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us.

Best wishes,

Steve Lafferty

Contact Steve

Contact Delegate Lafferty
By Phone: 410-841-3487
By Email: stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us

Contact the Campaign
By Phone: 410-377-4521
By Email: lafferty@delegatelafferty.com

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