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2012 Annapolis Report from the District 19 Team

2012 Annapolis Report from the District 19 Team

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Published by: delegatearora on Nov 27, 2012
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12/04/2012

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The 2012 Legislative Session
Legislative District 19 Montgomery County
T
he General Assembly of Maryland, at its 430th session, January to April 2012, considered over 2,600 bills andresolutions that affect many areas of importance to Marylandcitizens. Of these bills, 725 were enacted. The General Assembly alsopassed additional measures in two summer special sessions to bring the total of enacted legislation to 729, most of which took effectOctober 1, 2012. As we move forward to the 2013 legislative session in January,please let us know your thoughts and concerns after reviewing someof the highlights of 2012.
M
ONTGOMERY 
C
OUNTY 
– D
ISTRICT
19
Montgomery County will receive $968.5 million in Statesupport in fiscal 2013, including $662.8 million in direct aid,$162.3 million in retirement payments, and $143.4 million inoperating assistance for mass transit programs. This funding isequivalent to the amount of revenue generated from a $0.60 county property tax rate. Over the last five years, combined direct andretirement State aid for Montgomery County has increased by $177.7million, or 27.4%, even though the State was confronted with major fiscal challenges.
Education:
Since the General Assembly places a highcommitment on adequately funding public schools and providing a quality educational program for all children, a large portion of Stateaid is targeted to public schools. In fiscal 2013, county public schools will receive $595.2 million for operations and $43.1 million forschool construction. Montgomery College will receive $43.5 millionfor operations, as well as $14.2 million in capital funding, including $1.9million for renovation of the science and applied studies centerat the Germantown campus and $12.4 million for a science centerand a student services center at the Rockville campus. The county library system will receive $2.7 million in operating funds and $1million in capital construction funding for the Silver Spring Library.State-funded retirement payments for county teachers, librarians, andcommunity college faculty will total $162.3 million.
Public Safety:
Police protection and fire and rescue aid willtotal $11.2 million.
Social Services:
The State budget includes $135.1 million forprograms focused on health, mental health, developmentaldisabilities, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, prevention anddisease control, and child welfare services.
Quality of Life:
Local highway grants will total $4.8 million infiscal 2013 and local Program Open Space grants will total $2.5million. To support mass transit programs in the county, the State will also provide $143.4million in operating assistance forMetrorail, Metrobus, and Ride-On. Additional funds will aid parksand playgrounds, waterway improvement projects, and water quality projects, including $5.3 million for the Blue Plains wastewatertreatment plant.
Community Initiatives:
The State budget includes $40,000 forrenovations to the Edwards Building at Homecrest House, whichprovides affordable housing for low-income seniors who can no longerlive independently. Also included in the State budget is $250,000 forthe Lower Montgomery County Bikesharing System along portions of Metrorail’s Red Line, helping to allow individuals to connect withtransit, jobs, and activity centers by bicycle.
P
UBLIC
S
 AFETY 
& C
OURTS
Child Abuse (Justice’s Law):
The list of persons who can beconvicted of the felony of first degree child abuse is expanded toinclude a family member or household member. The maximumpenalty increases for first degree child abuse resulting in death of thevictim from 30 years imprisonment to 40 years imprisonment.
Marijuana - DeMinimis Quantity:
There will be reducedmaximum penalties of 90 days incarceration and/or a $500 fine forpossession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. Previously, maximumpenalties were one year imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. If thecourt finds that the defendant used or possessed marijuana out of medical necessity, the maximum punishment is a $100 fine.
Mephedrone (Bath Salts
): Maryland will join 39 other states inbanning certain bath salts, the common name for synthetic drugssuch as mephedrone and other similar chemical compounds that aresold in powder or tablet form. Under the new law, these compounds will become statutory Schedule I controlled dangerous substances.(These drugs have been found to produce increased blood pressure,delusions, paranoia, and psychosis.)
Same-Sex Marriage
:The Civil Marriage Protection Actestablishes that only a marriage between two individuals who are nototherwise prohibited from marrying is valid in the State and includesnumerous exemptions, protections, and immunities toaccommodate religious groups and affiliated organizations. The bill’seffective date is January 2013 or after any lawsuits over the successful
 Annapolis 
Report 
Senator Roger MannoDelegateSam AroraDelegateBonnie L. CullisonDelegateBen Kramer 
 
referendum effort are resolved, if the lawsuitoccurs after January 2013. Court rulingsinvalidating any portion of the act wouldvoid the entire law.
Firearms and Explosives
: The use andpossession of firearms and handguns areregulated by the State. Under enacted law, a person may not possess a regulated firearmor a rifle or shotgun if the person waspreviously convicted of a federal charge or anoffense in another state that wouldconstitute a disqualifying crime of violenceor drug crime if committed in Maryland. Another law sets up a task force to considerfurther limiting gun access by individuals with a history of mental illness andexpanding access of law enforcement officersto certain mental health records. Also, it willbe illegal to sell bomb making kits andinstructions, which are often sold in separatecomponents and therefore did not constitutean explosive under prior law.
E
CONOMIC
I
SSUES
& C
ONSUMER 
P
ROTECTION
 Job Creation Tax Credit:
This credit,first established in 1996, is extended until2020, for businesses which expand orestablish a facility in Maryland that resultsin new jobs. The value of the credit dependson the number of jobs created, the wages of those jobs in the year the credit wasclaimed, and whether the jobs are located ina revitalization area. The tax credit, in any given year, may be applied against thecorporate or personal income tax, insurancepremium tax, and public service franchisetax for businesses.
Security Clearances Tax Credit 
:Businesses may receive a new income taxcredit for costs incurred to obtain security clearances for employees in the State and toconstruct or renovate a sensitivecompartmented information facility locatedin the State. Up to $2 million in credits may be awarded in each year from 2013 through2016. The credit will support companiescoming to Maryland because of BRAC andmake Maryland competitive with otherstates.
Senior Home Owners
: A task force willstudy the renovation and repair needs of senior homeowners, including identifying on a statewide basis seniors of limitedincome who own and occupy single-family homes and identifying census tracks withconcentration of senior homeowners. A report is due this December.
Consumer Reporting – Security Freezes
: Under new law, a protectedconsumer’s representative may request that a consumer reporting agency place a security freeze on the protected consumer’s consumerreport. A protected consumer is anindividual who is younger than age 16 or anincapacitated person or a protected person with a guardian or conservator.
Reporting of Financial Abuse of Elder  Adults
: Passed bills create an affirmativeduty for a fiduciary institution to make anabuse report to specified persons if anemployee, while acting within the scope of employment, knows or has reasonable causeto suspect that the elder adult is the victim of financial abuse. An “elder adult” is anindividual who is believed to be at least 65years old and residing in the State. Theinstitutions must also provide employeetraining and are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,000 or up to $5,000 if the failure is willful.
E
DUCATION
Capital Funding for Public SchoolConstruction
: Beginning in 2004 thelegislature’s goal was to provide $2 billion inState funding over eight years to addressschool construction needs, or $250 millionper year from fiscal 2006 to 2013. The Statesurpassed the $2 billion goal in fiscal 2012.From fiscal 2006 through 2013, the Statehas provided $2.5 billion to support publicschool construction. The fiscal 2013 capitalbudget includes $326.4 million for publicschool construction financed using generalobligation bonds. Of this amount, $25million is reserved for projects that improvethe energy efficiency of school buildings.The fiscal 2013 capital budget also includes$31.1 million for aging schools, a $22.5million increase over fiscal 2012.
Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
: A local jurisdiction must meet MOE by providing at least as much per pupil funding as thecounty provided to the school system in theprevious fiscal year. New law requirescounties to request a waiver from the StateBoard of Education if they will not meet theMOE requirement. If counties do not meetMOE and do not receive a waiver, the Statecan redirect local income tax revenues to thecounty board of education. The legislationalso authorizes counties to exceed local taxlimitations to fund education.
Individuals with Disabilities
: Adding tocurrent law that requires school personnel toprovide the parents of a child with a disability a copy of a completed or draft individualizededucation program (IEP) following an IEPmeeting in an appropriate accessible format,legislation passed to allow compliance throughany reasonable and legal method of delivery.
State Aid – Higher Education
: Forfiscal 2013, State support for public highereducation institutions will total $1.2 billion,essentially level with fiscal 2012.
Tuition Waivers at Community Colleges– Disabled Individuals:
Expandedlaw allows these individuals who are out of the workplace to take classes for continuing education instruction designed to lead toemployment incorporating life skillsinstruction, which includes communication,
Legislative District 19 Montgomery County
 
Legislative District 19 Montgomery County
cooperation, problem solving, and responsibility skills, which are related to job stability.
N
 ATURAL
ESOURCES
& E
NVIRONMENT
Natural Gas Drilling in the MarcellusShale:
 As the use of hydraulic fracturing inother states has increased, so has concernabout its potential impacts in GarrettCounty and western Allegany County. Inresponse to this complicated issue and anongoing initiative to study natural gasdrilling in the Marcellus Shale, passedlegislation creates a statutory presumptionthat contamination of a “water supply” wascaused by the activities of gas exploration orproduction if resulting damage occurredclose in time and place to the gas operations.The presumption is designed to provide anincentive for those drilling gas wells to testdrinking water wells prior to drilling.
Commercial Feed – Arsenic:
Unlessthere is new information from the federalFood and Drug Administration, additivescontaining arsenic may not be used inpoultry feed with the exception of the FDA-approved histostat.
 Animal Waste Technology Fund:
Thefund willprovide financial assistance to
individuals and businesses to encourage the useof economically feasible technologies thatenable farmers to meet nutrient managementrequirements and provide alternative animal waste management strategies.
H
EALTH
& H
UMAN
S
ERVICES
Medicaid Funding:
The fiscal 2013funding for Medicaid, after adjustments andother funding changes, is $7 billion, an increaseof 2.8%. Future enrollment is expected tocontinue to fall in fiscal 2013 by just over 3.7%,down from 7.2% in fiscal 2012. Adjustmentsinclude repealing the requirement thatMedicaid pay a nursing facility for days when a program recipient is hospitalized.
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
:Required under the federal Affordable Care Act, the primary function of the exchange isto certify and make available qualified healthplans to individuals and businesses and toserve as a gateway to an expanded Medicaidprogram for low-income Marylanders. New 2012 legislation builds on last year’sframework by expanding the exchange’soperating structure to include establishing requirements for participating insurancecarriers and determining the items andservices that will comprise the essentialhealth benefits to be offered by the varioushealth plans, among other provisions.
Cancer Chemotherapy:
Healthinsurance carriers are prohibited fromimposing cost-sharing requirements oncoverage for orally administeredchemotherapy that are less favorable to aninsured or enrollee than the cost-sharing requirements that apply to chemotherapy coverage that is administered intravenously or by injection.
S
TATE
G
OVERNMENT
Constitutional Amendment -
Officials– Removal for Crimes:
Currently, an official who, while in office, is convicted of or enters a 
plea of 
nolo contendere 
to a felony or specifiedmisdemeanors related to the official’s publicduties and responsibilities is suspended fromoffice automatically without pay or benefits.Only if the conviction becomes final is theofficial removed from office. With the recentvoter approval, the Maryland Constitution will be amended to provide that an electedState or local official be removed from officeautomatically when the official enters a plea of guilty or
nolo contendere 
and that the officebe deemed vacant
.
T
RANSPORTATION
School Bus Cameras:
Counties thatallowschool bus monitoring cameras may now place a camera to record images of thefront of a motor vehicle that passes a stoppedschool bus with its red lights flashing.Previous law allowed the recorded image tobe of the rear license plate only. The camerasmay also be placed on any school bus in therelevant county, including those used by private schools.
Traffic Control
: A change in the legalrequirements for drivers approaching a nonfunctioning traffic signal requires a driver to yield to any vehicle or pedestrian inan intersection where the traffic signal is not working and remain stopped until it is safeto enter and continue through theintersection.
C
ONTACT
 Y 
OUR 
L
EGISLATORS
Senator Roger Manno
3 West Miller Senate Office Building  Annapolis, MD 21401Phone: 301-858-3151roger.manno@senate.state.md.us
Delegate Sam Arora 
224 House Office Building  Annapolis, MD 21401Phone: 301-858-3528sam.arora@house.state.md.us
Delegate Bonnie L. Cullison
220 House Office Building  Annapolis, MD 21401Phone: 301-858-3883bonnie.cullison@house.state.md.us
Delegate Ben Kramer 
226 House Office Building  Annapolis, MD 21401Phone: 301-858-3485benjamin.kramer@house.state.md.us

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