News from Annapolis
2019 Session:          Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Week Five
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Kirwan's Interim ReportKirwanReport
A Question of Implementation and Intent
          The newly released Interim Report of the Kirwan Commission gives us 232 pages of new Design Assumptions, Implementation Decisions, and cost estimates for each element of each of the five Policy Areas.
             As I read through the pages, I was transported to a higher plain where every stakeholder cooperated and together we enacted "The Kirwan Report," whereupon, lo and behold, the children of Maryland finally had a "world-class education system" just as the Commission envisions.
               But reality intrudes. 
               As the Reports acknowledge,  "The recommendations of this Commission amount to a proposal to substantially redesign Maryland's education system for high performance. . . . and will require the State to make very difficult decisions and embrace a different way of 'doing business' in pre-K education, institute major new policies and practices, embrace rigorous accountability, and hold firm for a full and complete implementation of recommendations. . ."
               The members of the Commission, all of whom have high praise for the Commission's work and work-product, nonetheless understand that implementation will be very difficult.
Concerns of the Commissioners
        Not a single Commissioner voted against approving the final report, and only two abstained.  Nonetheless, a number of them asked to include individual letters explaining certain of their concerns.  Clearly, these concerns must be taken seriously.        
Maryland State School Board member, Dr. Chester A. Finn, writes: "every vested interest in the state will oppose changes of this magnitude, while clinging to the bits that advance their own interests. . . . I'm not confident that [implementing the plan] can get done in a state with a long history of putting adult interests ahead of children's, parents' and taxpayers." 
        He also said, "Children and parents should be especially troubled - as I am -- by the Commission's refusal to endorse or recommend any form of school choice."

Commissioner David Steiner, writing for himself, also expressed disappointment that "the Commission has not chosen to support the expansion of parental school choice and commensurate academic accountability," and reiterated Dr. Finn's concern about whether we have the collective will to stick with the difficult decisions. He provided two examples where our will might break down:  

     1.  "We rightly seek to reward properly those who choose a teaching career.  Will we have the will to ensure that only those who demonstrate truly effective teaching are endorsed, or will we lower our new standards for entry into the teaching profession at the first instance of serious resistance?

2.  "We also seek a 10th-grade grade assessment as the gateway to an additional two years of study . . . . 
        But will passing the new 10th-grade assessment truly signify that students are prepared to move forward? Or will, rather, the claims of adults and the status quo come first, with the resulting watering-down of the standard for success?"
MSEA representative, David Helfman, was fully supportive of raising teacher salaries, "Closing gaps in salary between certificated educators and other high-skill industries," but opposes requiring teachers to achieve National Board Certification -- a major component of holding teachers to a higher standard.
Association of School Business Officials of Maryland representative, Leslie Pellegrino, CFO for Frederick County Schools objected to several issues of Governance and Accountability: 
        (1) creating a new, independent oversite committee, and 
        (2) withholding no less than 25 percent of new funds."  She recommends "there should be other means of enforcing the implementation goals."   A good recommendation.
State School Superintendent, Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D, strongly objected to the Governance and Accountability recommendation to create "an Independent Oversight Board with the authority to make certain that the new funds are used to implement the Commission's recommendations."  
        The "State Board of Education has gone on record . . . that they are excited about the opportunity to have more accountability and authority over low performing schools."  She continued, saying that the State Board "has recently shown its commitment to holding local systems accountable," and gave several examples.
Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) representative, Joy Schaefer, joined with the Superintendent, objecting to several issues of governance and accountability, including: (1) creating a new, independent oversight committee, (2) creating "a separate, stand-alone Career Technology Education (CTE) committee that is outside of the purview of MSDE and the State Board," and (3) using the withholding of no less than 25 percent of new funds as an accountability measure.
           More to come about the Interim Report as the Legislature starts appropriating money for 'Kirwan.' 
          Once we start putting programs in place, will we still be willing to take a hard look at the likelihood of success? 
Public Benefits for Children & Families Publicbenefits
So, Why am I Working?

       One of the most interesting publications compiled and published by  the Maryland Department of Legislative Services is the 2018  "Public Benefits for Children  and Families."
        First, the report provides brief program descriptions of the various State and federally funded tax credit and assistance programs that target and are available to low-income families.  
        The report analyzes the cumulative value of these programs to the recipients -- compared with the monetary value of work.   The report then takes the benefits available at four different income levels, combines the benefits and income for a net value, and compares the results.  The income levels are:
None. (No income)
*  Income equal to 100% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG)( $20,780)
*  Income equal to 200% of the FPGs ( $41,560), and
*  Income equal to the 2018 estimated State median household income ( $93,809).
        All of the comparisons assume a family of three consisting of a mother and two children (ages three and seven).
        The incomes "were selected because they allow for analysis of the advantages/disadvantages of working versus simply receiving assistance benefits.
        The table below shows the analysis for Howard County.
(Differences among the counties are driven primarily by regional differences in the child care and housing benefits. Howard offers the highest level of child care subsidy.)
What does it all mean?
         There are some troubling take-aways from this report.  
         First, the benefits available to non-working or very low-wage earners provide the family with a standard of living very close to that of the median wage earners.
          In addition, the family earning 200% of the federal poverty wage, is making less in total benefits and income than the family earning half as much income.         
          These outcomes are upside down. The benefits of working hard should be encouraged -- not discouraged.  
            On the other hand, it would appear that despite the availability of these benefits, few families in need take full advantage of what's offered, for reasons we can guess at, but are, in fact, unknown.
              Understanding what we have already put in place to help people makes me wonder why we never consider these benefits in evaluating the need for new programs.
           Every year the legislature passes bills to create more programs to provide more benefits to the poor and disabled.  The sponsors, the committees, and DLS analyze the "need" for these new programs by counting families at the poverty level. That is, we consider only their income to determine need.
           We don't consider the value of the programs already in existence that can raise the family's total financial access close to the median income in the State. The benefits already available or being received by families "in poverty" are not taken into account.
          How advantageous will a package of benefits become before working families begin to wonder if getting up each morning and going to a job you may hate is worth the effort.
          It makes no sense.
Hate speech ?HateSpeech
          A bill to expand the 'Hate Crime' statute was being considered by a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee last week. At issue were very real threats against the Jewish community that have been vicious and escalating.
          The language in the bill would make the act of trespass a hate crime if the person placed a noose or a swastika on the property of another with the intent to threaten or intimidate.
          Every expansion of the "hate crime" law must be balanced against our constitutional right to free speech, and to date, the legislature has been prudent in narrowly construing what symbols are identified as constituting a "hate crime."
          This subcommittee, however, was not content to limit the bill just to the two specific symbols. They amended the language to prohibit a person from placing any symbol of hate, including a noose or a Swastika -- meaning not just a noose or a swastika, but any other such symbol.
          A member of the subcommittee asked for an example of another such symbol.
          In response, and all seriousness, a committee-member responded, "You know, like a MAGA hat. . . . . .
          I'm speechless.
District NewsDistricts
Public Notice for Hearing on Statewide Issues
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Banneker Room, George Howard Building
3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD

        Howard County local bills and bonds that have not yet had a public hearing will also be heard at the beginning of the meeting. The remaining portion of the meeting will be devoted to statewide issues.  No Howard County local bills or bond requests that were previously given a public hearing will be heard. The agenda for the hearing is listed below. The hearing may be followed by a brief Delegation voting session.
          The Delegation will hear testimony from members of the public on any statewide issue they would like to bring to the Delegation's a ttention. 
  • There will be a 3 minute limit to testimonies.  
  • Signup will begin at 7:00pm in the Banneker Room and will close at 7:20pm. 
  • Advance sign up is not available.
  • You are encouraged to bring 15 - 20 copies of your testimony for the Delegation.
  Bond Initiative Requests
* Carrolton Hall Restoration, Ho. Co. 19-19, $200,000; Sponsored by: Senator Hester and Delegate Watson  
* Gateway Innovation Center, Ho. Co. 20-19, $500,000; Sponsored by: Senator Guzzone 
* Carroll Baldwin Hall Renovations, Ho. Co. 21-19, $315,000; Sponsored by: Delegate Terrasa
* 2nd Ellicott Quaker Schoolhouse - Rehab/Children's Museum, Ho. Co. 23-19, $100,000; Sponsored by: Delegate Watson
* Humanin - iHomes Affordable Housing Construction, Ho. Co. 24-19, $100,000; Sponsored by: Delegate Terrasa
* L inwood School Overflow Parking, Ho. Co. 27-19, $100,000; Sponsored by: Senator Guzzone and Delegate Watson
* Early Childhood Education Center, Ho. Co. 28-19, $50,000; Sponsored by: Delegate Terrasa

Proposed Local Bills

Howard County - Ethics - Limit on Developer Contributions, Ho. Co. 12-19 By: Delegate Miller for the purpose of:

  • Repealing existing provisions of law related to developer contributions in Howard County; 
  • Prohibiting an applicant or applicant's agent from making a payment to a member of the Howard County Council, the Howard County Executive, or a slate that includes a member of the County Council or the County Executive, during the pendency of a certain application; 
  • Prohibiting a member of the Howard County Council from voting or participating in a proceeding on a certain application if certain payments were received during a certain period; 
  • Requiring an applicant to file an affidavit disclosing certain information related to payments involving a member of the County Council; 
  • Requiring an agent of an applicant to file an affidavit under certain circumstances; repealing certain definitions; 
  • and generally relating to public ethics and Howard County.
Howard County - Howard County School Board Determining School Calendar, Ho. Co. 25-19. By: Delegate Watson,   Ffor the purpose of establishing the Howard County Board of Education as the body responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening and closing dates of the school year.  
Howard County - Howard County Housing Commission - Subsidiary Entities, Ho. Co. 26-19 By: Delegate Feldmark
  FOR the purpose of providing that a nonprofit entity shall be deemed controlled by the Howard County Housing Commission under certain circumstances; altering the applicability of certain tax exemption provisions to include a subsidiary entity of a certain Howard County Housing Commission entity; defining a certain term; making stylistic changes; and generally relating to the Howard County Housing Commission.
Howard County - Dep. of Corrections - Authority to Establish Programs Ho. Co. 29-19  By: Chair, Howard County Delegation
(Legislation still in Bill Drafting and will be posted on the Howard County Delegation website once complete.)
Howard County - Collection and Allocation of County Transfer Tax, Ho. Co. 30-19  By: Chair, Howard County Delegation
(Legislation still in Bill Drafting and will be posted on the Howard County Delegation website once complete.)
For further information, contact Kam Bridges at the Howard County Delegation office at 410-841-
Delegate Trent M. Kittleman ScholarshipScholarship
College students 
and college-bound seniors (and/or parents thereof) 
If you live in Legislative District 9-A 
( western Howard County and southern Carroll County)    
I Invite you to apply for one of my legislative scholarships.
District 9-A Residents:        
          Current high school seniors and full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students, graduate students and students attending a private career school may apply.
For questions regardi ng the a pplication process, please call my Annapolis office and ask to speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy at 410-841-3556.
Please be sure to have your completed application postmarked by April 10, 2019.
Delegate Trent Kittleman
District 9A, Western Howard County and Southern Carroll County (Sykesville)
Room 202, Lowe House Office Building
6 Bladen Street,   Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3556  *   Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
Interim Office
3000 Kittleman Lane,  West Friendship, MD 21794
301-661-3344  *
Administrative AideChelsea Leigh Murphy