2016 Session: Week 4 Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Highlights of Week 4 Below:
Spotlight on the 2nd Amendment
Governor Hogan Gives Strong Bi-partisan State of the State
Bills of Interest . . . and Interesting Bills
My Bill--What Ever Happened to Civics?
From a Thought to a Law - How the Process Works
District 9A News
Spotlight on the 2nd Amendment
4th Circuit Rejects State Gun Law
(See News from Annapolis, Special Edition for details)
One thing we all agree on is that we need to find a way to stop the violence that is killing our children and our cities. Gun laws haven't done that. Now is the time to come together to find solutions that actually work.
Governor Hogan Gives Strong Bi-partisan State of the State Message
What a difference a year makes! Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan opened his second State of the State address by noting, "The State of the State is strong and getting stronger," The governor took a decidedly bi-partisan tone in this speech, describing the past year as one of compromise and joint accomplishments. Talking directly to the legislators, the Governor called for common sense, bipartisan solutions to the problems and issues facing Maryland.
"In the days ahead, I extend my hand to you -- in cooperation and in devotion to our duty -- and I ask each of you, and all Marylanders, to seek that middle ground where we can all stand together," he said.
Together, we can continue to change Maryland.
Bills of Interest . . . or Interesting Bills
This week, the number of bills actually filed in the House is up to 749.
The ones below are interesting for various reasons -- good, bad, and informational.
HB 551. Education - Children With Disabilities - Individualized Education Program ("IEP")Mediation.
This bill requires that, if a parent disagrees with the IEP or the specialized services developed for their child, the IEP team must provide the parent with a written explanation of their right to request mediation and where and how to get more information about mediation, and about prop bono representation. Hearing set for 2/25 at 1:00 p.m.
HB 315 ELIMINATION OF THE MARRIAGE PENALTY. A bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the income tax rate for married couples filing jointly and increasing certain deductions to mirror the deductions that benefit individual filers. Hearing Set for 2/09 at 1:00 p.m.
HB 332 PAINT STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM. I was attracted to this bill by its name, being unsure exactly what paint did that made it uniquely worthy of special stewardship. Apparently, paint is bad, we consumers don't know how to dispose of it when we're done, and the existing "household hazardous waste collection infrastructure" is incapable of dealing with leftover paint. This bill creates its own infrastructure, only for "architectural" paint -- which is essentially the paint sold to regular consumers by regular retailers and distributors. It requires paint producers to establish a "Paint Stewardship Program" whose primary purpose will be to establish "end-of-life management options for" architectural paint". "End-of-life" options for paint?
Of course, to put in place any program requires fees. In this case, we first have a "Paint Stewardship Assessment." Retailers must add this fee "to the purchase price of all architectural paint sold in the State." Moreover, paint producers must add the fee to the cost of all such paint sold to retailers. And the producers have to remit such fee to the Paint Stewardship Assessment Program assessors. And of course, there is the "plan review fee" that's paid to the State Department of Environment.
Let's be clear, here. This program is not voluntary. If this bill passes, beginning on October 1, 2017, no Maryland retailer can sell any brand of architectural paint unless it's producer participates in providing end-of-life care for its paint.
We might want to rename this bill, the Maryland-Paint-Retailer-Elimination program. Hearing set for 2/17 at 1:00 p.m.
HB 343 Equal Pay Certificates--Requirement. This bill prohibits the State from awarding a contract of $500,000 or more to a company (with more than 40 full-time employees) unless the company must have obtained an "Equal Pay Certificate" from the state upon payment of a $150 application fee and submission of a "Statement of Compliance," that must be:
A. Signed by the CEO or Chairman of the Board of the contracting company;
(i) that the contractor is in compliance with:
1. Title vii of the federal civil rights act of
2. The federal equal pay act of 1963;
3. Title 3, subtitle 3 of the labor and
employment article; and
4. Title 20, subtitle 6 of the state government article;
(ii) that the average compensation for female
employees is not consistently below the average compensation for male employees within each of the major job categories in the eeo-1 report for which an employee is expected to perform work under a procurement contract, taking into account factors including length of service, requirements of specific jobs, experience, skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions, and other mitigating factors;
(iii) that the contractor does not restrict employees
of one sex to certain job classifications;
(iv) that the contractor makes retention and
promotion decisions without regard to sex;
(v) that wage and benefit disparities are corrected
when identified to ensure compliance with the laws specified in item (i) of this item and with item (ii) of this item; and
(vi) how often wages and benefits are evaluated to
pliance with the laws specified in item (i) of this item and with item (ii) of this item;
C. Must indicate whether the contractor, in setting
compensation and benefits, uses:
(i) a market pricing approach;
(ii) state prevailing wage or union contract requirements;
(iii) a performance pay system;
(iv) an internal analysis; or
(v) an alternative approach; and
If the contractor uses an alternative approach in setting compensation and benefits, include a description of the alternative approach. Hearing not yet set.
HB 589 & HB 591. OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER - ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES. These two bills, introduced by the Chairman of my Judiciary Committee, Joe Vallario, requires that a determination of financial eligibility must be made before a public defender can continue to represent a defendant after the bail hearing. Hearing set for both on 2/16 at 1:00 p.m
HB 607 increases the amount of "pay" for each day of jury duty from $15 to $30, and for each day beyond five days, from $50 to $75. Hearing set for 2/17 at 1:00 p.m
HB 580 "Maryland Healthy Working Families Act." Despite the title of the bill, there is nothing healthy to small businesses about this bill. It mandates employers to provide paid "sick and safe" leave to employees at the rate of 1 hour per 30 hours of work. Businesses with nine or fewer employees must provide unpaid "sick and safe" leave at the same rate. While it is certainly a fact that employees should be allowed to take sick leave without fear of losing their employment, most larger businesses provide sick leave and often personal leave for employees, most small businesses provide a leave program of some kind, and businesses with just a handful of employees generally accommodate the needs of their employees on an individual basis, where a one-size-fits all approach simply doesn't work.
Moreover, this bill creates a cause of action that employees can take directly to court . . . unlike claims of equal protection violations which are handled, first, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and unlike workers' compensation claims, that are handled by the Workers Compensation Commission.
This bill has 81 co-sponsors; only 71 votes are needed to pass a bill in the House. Nonetheless, last year's bill, which also had over 71 co-sponsors, was defeated in committee. A hearing date has not yet been set.
At this point, many bills have been set for hearings. For a complete list of hearing dates,
This site lists, for each committee, each scheduled hearing date and each bill scheduled for that date.
To find a hearing date for a specific bill, go to the
General Assembly home page
and enter the bill number where it says "Find a 2016 Bill"
(no space between "HR" and the number)
When you click on the arrow, it will take you to the main page for that bill. It will look like the screen shot below, with your bill number in the upper left hand corner. If the bill has been scheduled for a hearing that has not yet happened, that date, time and place will be shown in the "Status" line. Otherwise, the Status line will let you know where the bill is in the process.
My Bill -- What ever happened to Civics?
Whatever happened to teaching civics in our high schools? I hear that "we DO have civics courses." Maybe so, but then, why do so many of our young people have so little understanding of how this Country came into being; or why the protections created by our Constitution are critical for retaining the democracy that has been the light of the world for over 200 hundred years; or how very uncommon the individual freedom we are blessed with in this Country is.
If you don't think we are losing our country to ignorance, look at two examples of what is happening on our college campuses.
- The First Amendment is under attack! Students believe that the speakers invited to their campuses have no right to freedom of speech if what they say deviates even the slightest from the generally far left views of the students.
- Today, as we approach the election of our next president, over 80% of the students on college campuses support an avowed socialist. Socialism might be a thoughtful choice of some, but for the number to be that large bespeaks of a total lack of education and understanding of the system of capitalism that has been the backbone of our country's phenomenal success.
My bill takes one small step toward reintroducing civics as an integral part of our children's education.
Bill HB 324
would require every student graduating from a Maryland high school to have
taken and passed the citizenship and naturalization test
-- the same test immigrants must pass in order to become citizens of this Country.
There are three potential issues this bill avoids:
- The burden of Over-Testing! This is a huge concern because of the tremendous amount of time it takes away from classroom teaching. My bill avoids this issue altogether by allowing students take the test at home and online.
- Over-burdening teacher time. It requires no teacher time to prepare the test or provide students the opportunity to practice, since the 100 short answer and multiple choice question test is created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service; which provides practice tests online.
- Financial Cost. Finally, the bill will cost the State virtually nothing. In addition to the government website, there is a non-profit organization, the Joe Foss Institute, that provides the opportunity for students to take the test online, on their site, and coordinates with state education departments for grading and recording grades.
If you would like to support this bill, you are welcome to come testify this coming Thursday, February 11th. The hearing begins at 1 pm before the Ways and Means Committee. If you are interested in testifying, please contact Chelsea, my legislative aide, at 410-841-3556, to get more details. Alternatively, you can write (and/or email) the
Members of the Ways & Means Committee
, to express your support. If you click on
, and click the arrow for a member, it takes you directly to a contact-this-member screen.