Opening of the 2017 Legislative SessionsJanuary 16, 2017
Last Wednesday marked the convening of the Maryland General Assembly for the 2017 legislative session. While there is a lot of chatter about negative politics being expected this session, I am going to stay focused on the things that are important to our community in beautiful St. Mary’s County.
One of the first things we will tackle, after the pomp and circumstance of opening day, are veto overrides. Governor Hogan
vetoed HB 1106- Clean Energy Jobs- renewable energy portfolio standard, or RPS. Under existing law, Maryland is a national leader in achieving RPS goals. Seeking to explore and create renewable energy sources is a worthy goal, however, I am in agreement with the Governor that HB 1106 places a hefty tax increase on every electricity ratepayer in Maryland, reaching $196 million by 2020. While many believe that this legislation will lead to growth of renewable energy in Maryland, the data does not prove out. Over the past 5 years, $186 million in renewable energy credits paid by Maryland rate payers went to electric generators out of state, producing no economic benefit to Maryland jobs or companies. I will not support this burden on Marylanders, and will vote to uphold the Governor’s veto.
Another looming issue for those of us in rural areas, is the effort to repeal what we are calling the “Road Kill Bill”. Passed last year, HB 1013 effectively kills every roads project that does not score high on a scoring formula that heavily favors mass transportation and populated areas. As we are all aware, in 2016 Governor Hogan pledged 33.3 million for much needed and long awaited road improvements in our county, all of these projects are in jeopardy:
MD 5, Point Lookout Road; MD 5, Camp Brown Road to Ranger Station
MD 5, Point Lookout Road, MD 5 at Abel Street/ Moakley Street MD 234, Budd’s Creek Road; MD 234 Bridge over Gilbert Swamp run (Charles County)
The Governor has said that the repeal of this legislation is a top priority. I will work with my colleagues and the Governor to fully repeal this legislation.
According to the latest round of revised revenue projections, Maryland has a $400 million deficit, a problem that will require deep cuts in the next budget. I look forward to bi-partisan efforts to create a budget that addresses this problem in a way that makes fiscal sense, and protects the taxpayer.
Some hot issues are expected to be resurrected this session. You can count on me to oppose assisted suicide, mandatory paid sick leave, and any restrictive gun control measure.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and concerns on any given issue. Please contact me at my office by phone or by email, I look forward to the discussion.