News from Annapolis
Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
March 23, 2021
Education: Tell this Mom her son's school's not failing
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The Bad News Bills
  • HB 317: The Flatulent Cow Bill
  • HB 418: What Constitutes "Hate Speech" Grows Larger
  • HB 667: State Song to be Repealed!
  • HB 854: More student information to go into State Database
More Good News: MD Coffers Flush with Funds
Legislative Scholarships
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Tell This Mom that Baltimore City Schools Aren't Failing
Of course there are good -- even great -- schools in Baltimore City. I've toured them. The problem is, there aren't enough of them; too many City Schools are failing. No parent should ever have this experience.
Tiffany France thought her son would receive his diploma this coming June. But after four years of high school, France just learned, her 17-year-old must start over. He’s been moved back to ninth grade. READ MORE.
WBFF FOX45 Baltimore
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
from Governor Larry Hogan
Today, I was pleased to announce that based on Maryland’s rapidly accelerating vaccination rate and an anticipated increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, we will enter Phase 2 of our COVID-19 vaccine plan beginning early next week. 
WHO: All Marylanders age 60 and older.
WHEN: March 23 [Preregistration OPEN NOW via or 1-855-MD-GOVAX]
WHO: Marylanders age 16 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 illness. 
WHEN: March 30
WHO: All Marylanders age 55 and older, as well as essential workers in critical industries, including construction, food services, utilities, transportation, financial services, IT, and other infrastructure.
WHEN: April 13
WHO: General population, including healthy individuals age 16 and older.
WHEN: April 27
Our goal throughout this process remains the same: we do not want to leave any Marylander behind. Today our state surpassed the milestone of 2 million vaccines administered, and now every single Marylander knows when they will become eligible for vaccination.
These COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, they are administered under medical supervision, and getting vaccinated is absolutely vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19 so we can return to normal life once again.
When it's your turn, GoVAX, Maryland.
The Bad News Bills
In past years, most "bad bills" were only proposed
This year, most of the "bad bills" are being passed
This year reminds me of the old nursery rhyme, "and when news was good, it was very, very good, and when it was bad, it was horrid!"
The Flatulent Cow Bill
HB 317: Maryland Green Purchasing Committee - Food and Beverage Procurement - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

If you're wondering why we're passing legislation designed to measure how much gas cows emit from either or both ends, it is ostensibly because of methane. Apparently, cows really do emit some serious gases resulting from their digestive processes.

This bill sets a goal to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions associated with food and beverages purchased by State agencies (including public four-year universities) by 25% by fiscal 2030. First, someone has to figure out just how to measure these gases; I doubt the cows will cooperate willingly.

P.S. The Committee vote on this bill was 16-8. We Republicans like beef!
HB 418: What constitutes "Hate Speech" grows larger
The bill reads as follows: "In this section, “symbol of hate” means a symbol, an image, or an object that expresses animus toward another individual on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin that may be reasonably forecast to cause a disruption. A “symbol of hate” may include, subject to a reasonable forecast of disruption, a noose, swastika, and confederate flag."

Banning certain Symbols of Hate is lawful as an exception to free speech if the objects being banned are calculated to incite disruptive action, just as the famous example, "yelling fire in a crowded theater." HB 418 takes that one step too far. Hate speech laws up to now have identified specific, broadly understood objects, such as the ones listed in the bill. However, this bill does not limit "symbols of hate" to those items. It refers to any "symbol, image, or object" expressing "animus" as described. During a subcommittee meeting on this topic last year, one of the legislators used a "MAGA" hat as an example.
I am assured that something like a MAGA hat could not be viewed as a Symbol of Hate because political speech is the most protected type of speech. But the picture to the right and the CNN story below don't give me any comfort . . .
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 AT 5:56 AM

(CNN) — The “OK” hand gesture is now a hate symbol, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL added that symbol along with several others on Thursday to its long-standing database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.

The two-finger OK sign is universally known for meaning everything is all right or approval of something. But the ADL says while not everyone means it to be hateful, the sign has been co-opted by the alt-right.
No more "Maryland, My Maryland." State Song to Be Repealed
HB 667: General Provisions - State Song - Repeal

As part of the cancel culture, our state song is history . . . of course history doesn't count anymore.

An attack on the song has been launched for years. This year, even Governor Hogan had a bill to repeal it.

Maryland My Maryland is seen to be racist as it urges the state to secede and fight the North. But the song is also a tribute to many of the men (yes, just men) who fought in other wars and died fighting to create and protect this country. It is also a literary delight. Indeed, the language is poetic to the point that you have to work hard to figure out the primary aim of the bill. If you are curious, you can read all 9 stanzas on the following site, along with crib notes as to what they mean! Interactive: Decoding Maryland's Controversial State Song
HB 522: Public Schools - School Resource Officers and School Security Employees - Revisions
Overall, this is less of a "bad bill" than the others listed here. This is due, primarily, to the fact that it does not eliminate the position of SROs. Instead, it catalogs a series of strong guidelines focused on training and communication. It does prohibit SROs from enforcing a school's student code of conduct absent the threat of serious bodily harm.
HB 854: More private information to be collected in State Database
In 2010, the Legislature 2010 established Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) Center “to contain individual-level student data and workforce data from all levels of education and the State’s workforce. 

Its original charter had clear boundaries, including limiting the time frame for collecting such data to five years after college, and prohibiting certain information from being collected, such as school discipline records. The time frame has been extended to 20 years after the student completes their last educational level, and school discipline was added several years ago.

Yet each year, the boundaries are breached and the prohibitions cast aside as the MDLS grows ever larger, devouring more and more of our children’s private, personal information.
NEW DATA: This year, HB 854 allows the MDLS to delve into the data-rich Social Services Administration within the Maryland Department of Human Services to gather information “on the experience of children who were provided with out-of-home placement and how out-of-home placement affected their participation in higher education.”

The purpose of collecting the data is to use it “to improve the State’s education system and guide decision-makers at all levels.” Arguably, the availability of the MDLS data is not helping.

HACKABILITY. The system is equipped with high-performance cybersecurity to protect private individual data from being hacked -- but it is clear that almost any database can be hacked. And although MDLS uses de-identified data -- data about individuals that has been rendered anonymous by stripping out any information that would allow people to determine an individual’s identity -- some datasets may indirectly reveal the identities of specific students or individuals. 

"For example, some small, rural schools have very small minority student populations. . . . If State or school records contain, say, test scores or graduation rates for various racial subgroups, the identity of an individual . . .could be inadvertently revealed" (read more) or even deduced. States and schools are not supposed to use de-identified data when a subgroup is small enough to potentially reveal specific students.
1.M Magellan Health, a Fortunate 500 company, was struck by a ransomware attack and data breach in April 2020. The healthcare giant confirmed by stating that about 365,000 patients were affected by the sophisticated cyberattack.
2.T Twitter took the whole internet by storm when it was hit by one of the most brazen online attacks in history! The social media platform suffered a breach where the hackers verified Twitter accounts of high-profile US personalities like Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Bill Gates, and many more. 
3.O On March 31st, 2020, the hotel chain Marriott disclosed a security breach that impacted the data of more than 5.2 million hotel guests who used their company’s loyalty application.
4.L Last year in 2019, MGM Resorts suffered a massive data breach. The news of the breach incident started to circulate in February 2020 when hackers leaked the personal details of 10.6 million hotel guests for free download. But in the later findings, the number increased by 14 times (nearly 142 million) than the number recorded in February 2020.
5. In the first week of April 2020, the news of “500,000 stolen Zoom passwords available for sale in dark web crime forums.”
More Good News
Maryland coffers Flush with Funds from federal American Rescue Plan
State & Local Government Funding
To help our state and local governments fund emergency services, distribute the vaccine, employ frontline workers, and more, the American Rescue Plan will provide:
  • $3.87 Billion in direct funding to the State of Maryland
  • The State will also receive an additional $169 Million for capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options in response to the public health emergency
  • $1.173 Billion in direct funding to Maryland’s county governments
  • $1.14 Billion in direct funding to Maryland’s city and municipal governments
Totaling in: $6.355 Billion directly to our state (See below for a further breakdown by city and county)

Direct Payments
To help Marylanders stay afloat during this economic downturn, the American Rescue Plan will provide:
  • 2,516,312 Maryland households with direct payments
Totaling $6.25 Billion in direct payments for Marylanders

Child Tax Credit
To protect our most vulnerable, the American Rescue Plan expands the Child Tax Credit, resulting in a historic reduction in child poverty across the United States. In our state it will:
  • Lift over 52,000 Maryland children out of poverty
  • Benefit 1.1 million children – or 85% – of Maryland’s children

Earned Income Tax Credit
To support our low-income workers, the American Rescue Plan expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, benefiting:
  • 255,000 Maryland workers

Enhanced Unemployment Benefits
The American Rescue Plan will extend expanded unemployment benefits through September 6th that would have expired on March 14th, which will benefit:
  • More than 300,000 Marylanders currently relying on unemployment benefits

Education & Child Care
To help get Maryland students safely back into the classroom, while providing our schools and educators the resources they need, the American Rescue Plan includes:
  • $1.95 Billion for Maryland K-12 education$1.756 Billion for Maryland’s local school districts
  • $549 Million for Maryland institutions of higher education 
To support early childhood education in our underserved and most vulnerable communities, the American Rescue Plan includes:
  • $11 Million in Head Start funding
To help Marylanders afford child care and to help ensure child care providers can continue operating safely, the American Rescue Plan includes:
  • An increase in the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children, and makes the credit fully refundable. This would significantly ease the burden of child care costs for many Maryland families, who pay on average $15,335 annually for infant care and $10,254 for the care of 4-year olds.
  • $194 Million in supplemental Child Care Development Block Grants
  • $310 Million in Child Care Stabilization Grants
  • An additional $9 Million in Child Care Entitlement to States funding
Totaling $513 Million in Maryland child care funding
Transportation & Public Transit
To allow our frontline workers to travel to and from work and to ensure our transit systems are able to weather this storm to serve commuters, the American Rescue Plan includes:
  • $1.4 Billion for transit systems in the DC metro region including WMATA
  • $353.6 Million for transit systems in Baltimore City
  • $1.02 Million for transit systems in and around Aberdeen, Md.
  • $1.47 Million for transit systems in and around Salisbury, Md.
  • $1.44 Million for transit systems in Frederick, Md.
  • $1.27 Million for transit in Waldorf, Md.
  • $1.13 Million for transit systems in and around Hagerstown, Md.
  • $441,234 for transit systems in and around Cumberland, Md.
  • $408,639 for transit systems in Westminster-Eldersburg, Md.
  • An additional $4.62 Million for rural transit systems throughout Maryland
Housing and Utility Assistance
To help Marylanders struggling to meet their rental payments, the American Rescue Plan includes:
  • $318 Million in Emergency Rental Assistance
  • $180 Million to $311 Million for Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • $166 Million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families afford home heating and cooling costs
To allow Maryland airports to weather this storm and to continue delivering crucial supplies to our state, the American Rescue Plan includes funding for the following:
Kittleman Legislative Scholarship
District 9-A Residents
High school seniors, current undergraduate students at a 4-year college, a community college, or a private career school are eligible to apply for a Legislative Scholarship.
Please EMAIL your applications to Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
For questions regarding the application process, call my Annapolis office and speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy, my Legislative Aide, at 410-841-3556.