Maryland General Assembly adjourned the 2020 Legislative Session on Wednesday, March 18
- almost three weeks early because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
We worked almost nonstop and late into many nights through the last three weeks, including a rare Sunday session- the first in thirty years- to rapidly approve some necessary and some not-so-necessary legislation.
We condensed the last month of session into three days with a third of the staff available
The presiding officers were criticized, rightfully so,
General Assembly was meeting in a vacuum- banning the public from the buildings and dealing with significant technological shortcomings both for members of the Legislature and those who attempted to stay engaged remotely.
The Democratic leaders told the public that we were meeting to pass emergency legislation, that was a far stretch from the truth, only a handful of emergency bills were necessary.
it is OK for 188 Legislators to gather in close quarters to jam through non-emergency legislation, and the rest of the public is told to shelter in place?
We should have been back in our districts communicating with our constituents on how to navigate the many new orders that were about to affect our lives for the foreseeable future.
Note: The Governor cannot dictate to the Legislative branch of government what to do- only strongly suggest it - as he did on more than one occasion.
There were some key pieces of Legislation that we did pass-
a Balanced Budget (required by the Constitution) and those dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, but most of the others could have waited. We were expected to
vote on every one of the 660 pieces of legislation that was presented to us in the last three days-whether we had the ability to read it or not.
It was insane and not the way to do business- Marylanders deserve better!
This is unprecedented and unlike ANYTHING I have ever seen in my seventeen years as a Maryland State Delegate.
As a member of the Health and Government Operations Committee, we passed some important legislation to make it easier to access healthcare during this health crisis including
expanding telehealth services
The usual benefits of telehealth, including transportation costs, less time in the waiting room, and no taking time off of work still apply, but now, the benefit of lowering the chance of spreading a new illness is at the top of the list, especially for our healthcare workers.
The $32 Billion Kirwan 10 year Plan Gets Final OK
The priority of the leadership in this legislative session was to pass a $32+ billion Kirwan education bill “for the children” --not even the looming coronavirus could stop that bill from passing. It was also a priority for them to push for massive tax increases to pay for this reform effort- even in the midst of looming job losses, economic calamity and changes in life as we know it for an undetermined period of time.
The much anticipated
Blueprint for Maryland's Future
was rammed through despite the pleas from Republicans to wait until the uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic stabilized. My colleagues who voted to rush through the education spending bill, on a party line vote in the House, failed to pass significant legislation to
for the $4 Billion a year price tag when it fully ramps up.
Most of the massive tax increases they tried to push through failed-
thank goodness for
here is little in this Kirwan legislation that changes the status quo of how we operate public schools throughout Maryland
or to tackle the reality that parents in some jurisdictions take little responsibility for their children, including even getting them to school – Baltimore City has the highest absenteeism rate in the nation. It obviously makes the Democrats feel better to throw money at the problem and say they have done something (in full disclosure- 6 Republicans in the Maryland Senate vote yes too).
It is beyond belief to me that any legislator could vote to increase the spending of taxpayer’s money by $32 billion dollars at a time when our citizens and businesses are facing a health and economic disaster unlike any in our lifetimes.
Governor Hogan has vowed to veto this legislation- but the Democrat leaders have already planned a special session in late May to override the Governor’s veto.
Not sure when they plan to figure out which other taxes to raise to pay for it. States can’t print money like the federal government.
We will be following up in the coming weeks with information on what passed and how it may affect you.
Governor Hogan first must review all of the legislation and then decide whether or not to sign, veto, or let it become law without his signature. Obviously, Governor Hogan and his staff have been spending their time focused on what is important to Marylanders, leading us through this unprecedented pandemic that has affected everyone’s lives.
For now, my focus is on communicating with you about the coronavirus pandemic.
This information changes on a daily basis and we will attempt to share with you what we know. The Annapolis complex continues to be shut down indefinitely, but there is information that is being distributed to help you navigate resources that are available to you.
Please support our local businesses to the extent possible- they are what make our communities great - this is a very difficult time for them and their employees.
Please also pray for our healthcare workers and essential personnel as they are separated from their loved ones and face unknown risks and uncertainty. Take a moment to check in on our elderly or those who may not have a support system nearby- even a phone call will be appreciated.
Wishing you and your family wellness during this challenging time. Don’t forget the power of prayer- especially for our Governor, President and all of the decision-makers throughout our nation.