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Steve's News from Annapolis


The 2010 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has begun. During the first few days, it was great to get reacquainted with friends, recognizing that this may be the last year some of us may serve together. Delegate LeRoy Myers started us off with a moving prayer and thankful remembrance of family members who died during, and since, the 2009 Session.


I am fortunate to have my terrific Assistant, Marsha Tracey and intern, Hannah Ackerman, with me again this year.  I have had numerous meetings with advocates, constituents and other legislators. The Environmental Matters Committee has been briefed on foreclosures, the state of the Bay and its fisheries, lead paint poisoning and stormwater management. I have requested that bills be drafted on issues of foreclosure, information found in the land records, transportation spending and other matters. I have joined others in co-sponsoring the Governor’s Job Creation legislation and with Del. Mizeur on greater transparency in the way we operate.


Of course, the dominant topic has been the state budget. The Governor’s general fund budget is actually smaller than last year’s. The decisions to reduce the budget since revenues are down are not easy. The Governor has increased spending for education and for school construction. However, he has proposed raising college tuitions, eliminate another 51 people and hold off on pay increases. I am very disappointed that the budget – for the third year in a row – has furloughs for state employees and provides no COLA or merit increase.


We received great news, though, that Maryland’s public schools have been recognized by Education Week as the best school system in the country for the second year in a row! The Governor’s substantial capital budget should be a positive impetus to creating more jobs.


Another big issue for me and others in the Baltimore County delegation is a school system reporting program called AIM (Articulated Instructional Module). I have heard numerous complaints from teachers and parents about the value of adding another reporting system.


As a result, the Superintendent, Dr. Joe Hairston, was asked to attend an unprecedented joint hearing of our House and Senate members. We wanted information on how AIM works and why it is proposed to be implemented now. However, Dr. Hairston failed to show up or send any staff who could answer our questions! All members present were appalled that he would show his disrespect for elected representatives. Clearly, the Delegates and Senators still want answers.


If you have questions about anything in this report or what is going on in the legislature, please feel free to contact me. And, if you need my assistance, contact me at 410-841-3487 or at


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