All are invited to my first annual Community Picnic in the Park! Join me and my family, other elected officials, and your neighbors from around District 46 for food, facepainting, games, and ice cream! Information about schools and community programs will also be available. Sunday, May 31 from 2-4 p.m. at Patterson Park (northeast of the Pagoda). See this link for more info: www.brookelierman.com/picnic2015
Friends - I can hardly believe that my first session in the General Assembly has come to an end! I never knew that 90 days could go so by so quickly! I have learned so much - both substantive information about policies, and procedurally, so much about how the legislative process works (or sometimes doesn't work as the case may be!).
In budget news, the pieces are moving quickly. Last week, the House of Delegates passed an FY16 Capital Budget that the Appropriations Committee had earlier approved. On Thursday, Gov. Hogan released a supplemental budget. In a nutshell, it was not the supplemental I had hoped to see -- rather than fund education and COLAs for state workers, he used money for several of his own pet projects. Below is a synopsis of the capital budget, the supplemental budget, and a look at the week ahead.
For Immediate Release
March 27, 2015
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PASSES $1.04 BILLION CAPITAL BUDGET
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The House Appropriations Committee voted today to send their $1.04 billion capital budget plan for Fiscal Year 2016 to the full House of Delegates for consideration. The capital budget funds improvements, repairs, or expansions of facilities such as parks, State hospitals, and facilities at public higher education institutions. Additionally, it funds various local projects in every Maryland county ranging from public schools to community health centers.
The big news of the week was passing the FY16 operating budget with overwhelming support through the House of Delegates. A budget must now be passed in the Senate, and then if there are differences, those differences must be ironed out in a conference committee. After that, the House and Senate will vote on a final, identical budget bill. Once it is passed, the Budget bill goes into effect immediately - the Governor does not need to sign it. The Governor does need to sign the budget’s accompanying legislation, however - the BRFA.
Wow! What a week. I had two bill hearings, decisions in my Transportation & Environment Subcommittee, votes on the House floor and in the Pensions Subcommittee, and then, on Friday, we voted on and passed the budget out of the Appropriations Committee. It now proceeds to the House Floor next week. Here are a few highlights from the week
Bill Hearings . . .
The bills I am introducing this session each have something to do with building a better Baltimore - whether that is a cleaner Baltimore (HB 551), a Baltimore with better transit (HB 546), a more just Baltimore (HB 244 and HB 911) or a Baltimore with a stronger economy. That last point is the reason I am introducing two bills targeting the attraction and retention of entrepreneurs to our state: the Angel Investor Tax Credit (HB 789), and an amendment to the One Maryland Tax Credit (HB 810).
General Assembly Update #8
In Annapolis . . .
This week saw hearings for many contentious bills, including Governor Hogan’s bill to repeal the Stormwater Management Fee, which failed in the Environment and Transportation Committee on Friday afternoon. Our local Fox station had a short clip on the bill with some comments by me on Saturday night - check it out here.
The 2015 Budget
This past Thursday I had the opportunity to present one of my bills this session - HB 551, the Community Clean Up and Greening Act. This bill prohibits most retailers from distributing plastic bags at checkout, with exceptions for meats, produce, and limited other items. Retailers would charge 10 cents for each paper bag requested by the consumer.
We’re over halfway through the 2015 session! Friday marked the halfway point in this year’s 90-day legislative session. Veteran legislators keep telling me that it is going to get even busier in the next 45 days and I find that hard to believe - I’m not sure how I could pack more into my days! Last week was my busiest week yet, with five days of hearings in the Appropriations Committee, and four hearings in other committees advocating for bills on which I am the lead sponsor.
In Annapolis . . .