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Steve's News from Annapolis

2017-01-22


The 437th Session of the Maryland General Assembly got under way on January 11, 2017. I am proud and excited to have the honor to represent District 42A and to work for you and on behalf of all Marylanders.

I continue to serve on the House Environment and Transportation Committee where I chair the Subcommittee on Land use and Ethics. Our committee has jurisdiction over environmental, transportation, ethics and housing legislation. This year we will address issues such as fracking, the health of the Chesapeake Bay, land and forest preservation, transit services, bicycle safety, foreclosures, condominium management and government employees ‘ethics.

I will also continue to Chair the Speaker’s Regional Revitalization Workgroup and focus on regionalism, and the role of Baltimore as it relates to that other nearby city, Washington, DC. Recently, I was honored to be re-elected to Chair the Baltimore County House Delegation with support from both Democrats and Republicans.

State Budget

When the Governor introduced his budget, he indicated that there would be less spending, no tax increases and no reduction in services. He said that, while it sounded too good to be true that it really is. However, when one looks more closely at the budget, it is not how he characterized it at all. He was right - his representation was too good to be true!

Since we only received the budget documents a few days ago, a lot more analysis is needed. But, it is clear that among the budget reductions are plans that will cause pain:

  •  the reimbursement rate for care providers who work with people with development disabilities will be reduced from 3.5% to 2% so these workers will not get the wage increase they were promised;
  • poor children in eight counties across the state will not have access to after-school and summer programs to help them;
  • state employees will have their wages frozen;
  • operating funds promised for the changeover of the Prince Georges hospital are not being provided;
  • the number of correctional officers in the prisons will be reduced by 400;
  • and, the money the legislature proposed last year to support city libraries, help children prepare for college and stimulate investment in the region’s communities will not be provided

The Governor’s budget also fails to include funds for Local Initiatives. In the past, I have obtained some of these funds for important community projects such as Radebaugh Park, the memorial to deceased veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Cromwell Valley Park, the scoreboard at Towson High School, and Towson Manor Park.

The legislature cannot add to the governor’s budget. The budget committees are just beginning their work so we will see if there are ways to protect the initiatives which we put in place to help Marylanders.

Upcoming Bills and Issues of Interest

This Session we will see a number of important issues, in addition to the budget, being debated and voted on. I cannot list all of them but, this will include:

  • a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for gas and oil due to environmental and public health issues
  • providing paid sick leave for working Marylanders so they can take care of themselves when sick and not have to forgo income
  • reforming the bail bond system so that poor people are not confined to jail regardless of whether they pose any risk but simply because they cannot afford the bail
  • addressing the lack of beds for mentally ill individuals who need medical care
  • juvenile justice issues that include shackling of youth who are neither violent nor a risk and the disparate treatment of young men and women who are being detained
  • the rating and ranking of transportation projects that the State wants to construct and how to provide transparency so that Marylanders know how their tax dollars are being spent
  • tax credits to stimulate investments in manufacturing
  • ethical standards for legislators and other government officials

If you are interested in particular issues or want more information on bills that we will be considering, please visit the legislature’s web site, www.mgaleg.maryland.gov.

Baltimore County House Delegation

The County’s House delegation meets on Friday mornings at 9 am in Room 180 of the House Office Building in Annapolis. The public is always invited. We have various presentations regarding issues in the County and conduct hearings on legislation that impacts the county but which need state approval. You can check the Baltimore County House Facebook page for our hearing and presentation schedule. Or you can contact the Delegation’s Legislative Aide, Barbara McLean at 410-841-3371 or at bcod@mlis.state.md.us

Delegate Lafferty Scholarship Opportunities

Once again this year, the application for a 2017-18 Delegate Scholarship will be available later this week at my web site: www.delegatelafferty.com. In order to be eligible for these scholarship funds, one must live in District 42A and be enrolled in or planning to attend a Maryland two-year or four-year college or university as a full-time or part-time degree seeking student. The deadline for submitting all applications is April 3, 2017. I strongly urge you, or others you may know, to apply for funds to help defray the cost of college. If you have any questions, please contact my office at 410-841-3487.

I look forward to the legislative Session and to hearing from you on the legislation and issues that are important to you. I am extremely fortunate to have Marsha Tracey continue as my Aide and to have Ben Fleury as my intern for the session. I can be reached at Stephen.Lafferty@house.state.md.us or at 410-841-3487.

Best wishes,

Steve

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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