News from Annapolis
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
  • Bill Hearings
  • My Bill--What Ever Happened to Civics?
  • From a Thought to a Law - How the Process Works
  • District 9A News
  • Events
  • Scholarship Information 
  • 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;
    B.   State:
    (i)      that the contractor is in compliance with:
    1.            Title vii of the federal civil rights act of  1964;
    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  ensure com 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.
    Bill Hearings
    At this point, many bills have been set for hearings. For a complete list of hearing dates, click here.  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:
    1. The burden of Over-TestingThis 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. 
    2. Over-burdening teacher timeIt 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.
    3. Financial CostFinally, 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 this site, and click the arrow for a member, it takes you directly to a contact-this-member screen.
    From a Thought to a Law - How the process works
    The Idea. Legislators introduce many bills each year. Some of them come from our own ideas, but many of them are the result of requests from constituents. If you have an idea, let me know as soon as possible. I learned many years ago that starting to work on a bill as early as possible - as much as a year in advance - gives you the best chance of success. In fact, most substantive bills don't pass the first year they're submitted. It takes time to build a constituency and educate the legislature
    Drafting the Bill. My first step is to contact the Department of Legislative Services ("DLS") to write the initial draft of the bill.  Because of the huge number of bills DLS is responsible for drafting, a bill must be requested by January 26th (this year) for you to be guaranteed of getting a bill drafted before the filing deadline.  When the bill comes back from DLS, I review the draft, and work directly with the individual bill-drafter to make any changes. Once I'm satisfied with the language, DLS prepares the official copy. At that point, I will generally see if there are other legislators who want to be co-sponsors.
    Introducing (filing) the Bill.    I next take the bill it to the Clerk of the House, who processes it for introduction (this is called, "dropping it in the hopper"). The Speaker assigns each bill to a committee (and occasionally, to two committees).  The committee chair sets a hearing date. In order to ensure that the bill will get a hearing, it must be given to the Chief Clerk no later than 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 11th (this year's deadline).   Once the bill is filed, supporters and opponents begin to "lobby" legislators, and many will continue to do so u until the very last moment before the final vote.  However, the most important legislators to you are the 22-25 members who serve on the committee that will hear your bill.  If a bill passes out of committee, it has a very high (99%) likelihood of ultimately passing the full House and a reasonably high likelihood of becoming law.
    The Hearing . Hearings are held by the committee to which a bill is assigned, and generally begin at 1 p.m.  If you want to testify, you must sign up outside of the hearing room, in advance of the hearing. The committees also request that you prepare written testimony and bring 25-35 copies with you so that each committee member can be given a copy before the hearing. Each committee has its own rules and although similar, it is important for you to check with the staff of the committee hearing your bill to be sure you understand their unique rules.

    The sponsoring legislator generally testifies first and is followed by all other supporters. Opponents then have the opportunity to testify.  Witnesses are called up in groups, so you will likely be seated at the witness table with other supporters/opponents. There is no limit to how many people can testify, but most committees have a 3-minute limit on the time you may talk.  My committee (Judiciary) is unique in that our Chair doesn't set a time limit. However, keeping your testimony as concise as possible is a much more persuasive (and appreciated) way to testify. A word of caution: although our Committee Chairman will not cut anyone off, he might decide to tell you not to read your testimony, but to "tell it in your own words."
    The Committee Vote. Once the hearing is over, the Chair will/may schedule a vote on the bill.  The committee chair is not required to bring a bill up for vote. If you hear that the bill is being "held in the drawer," that means the Chair is not going to bring the bill to the committee for a vote.  Committee's meet in "voting sessions," and generally vote on a number of bills, after discussion.  If ta bill receives a favorable vote from a majority of the Committee, it is sent to the Floor for a vote of the whole House. 

    Final Passage.    Even if the House passes the bill unanimously, that doesn't always get you what you want.   For example, a bill can be amended either in committee or on the floor (sometimes to the point where it is unrecognizable).  In addition, the Senate must pass an identical bill.  If the Senate passes a similar bill, there must be a conference committee to work out the differences, which might produce a very different bill, or no bill at all.  And, of course, the bill must be signed by the Governor.  
    Final Thoughts.  Getting a bill from an idea to law is a complex, complicated and arduous process -- as it should be.  But participating in the effort is a great experience and an important part of citizenship.  I hope you'll have that opportunity, and please let me know how I can help.
    District 9A News
    Carroll County
    Delegate Haven Shoemaker has proposed a bill to limit members of the Carroll County Board of Education to two terms.  The Delegation held a hearing this week in Westminster, on Saturday, February 6th, and will vote whether or not to offer the bill as a Local Bill sponsored by the Carroll County delegation this coming Friday, in Annapolis.

    Howard County Delegation -- Public Hearing
    The Howard County Delegation will hold a public hearing for citizen input on state-wide issues on Thursday, February 11th, at 7:30. The hearing will take place in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building- 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City.
    The delegation will hear testimony from the public on any statewide issue they would like to bring to the delegation's attention, except any Howard County local bills that were give a public hearing previously. Any individual may speak for up to 3 minutes as long as they are signed up. Signup will begin at 6:45pm in the Banneker room and will close at 7:20pm.  Advance sign up is not available.  The delegation encourages you to bring written copies of your testimony (preferably 15) to distribute to us, though it is not a requirement to speak.   

    For further information, contact Dan Furman at the Howard County Delegation office at 410-841-3360 or
    District 9 Night in Annapolis
    District 9 Night in Annapolis will be on Monday, March 7 from 6:00-8:00pm.  Join me, along with Senator Bates, along with Delegates Flanagan and Miller for a glimpse into our legislative session! Mark your calendars, more information will be coming soon!
    Series of Informational Meetings on Medicare:
    The following meetings are  Sponsored by Howard County Office on Aging's State Health Insurance Assistance Program.  They will be held at the  Ellicott City 50+ Center, 9401 Frederick Road, Ellicott City.   Contact:   Barbara Albert, Office on Aging, 410-313-7391

    Medicare 101: What You Can Expect from Medicare
    Tuesday, February 9, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.  
    Participants will learn about how Medicare Parts A (Hospital), B (Medical) and D (Prescription Drug), as well as related benefit programs and how to protect yourself against Medicare fraud

    Medicare 102: Why Medicare Isn't Enough
    Tuesday, February 16, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.   
    Participants will learn about Medicare Part C/Health Plans and how Medicare Supplement Policies (Medigap Plans) can help cover out of pocket expenses.  
    Using Medicare's Plan Finder
    Tuesday, February 23, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
    Participants will learn how to use the 'Plan Finder' tool on  to compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
    Scholarship Information
    District 9A residents attending a college, university, trade school or equivalent in the State of Maryland are eligible for the Delegate Scholarship. Current high school seniors and full-time (12+ credits per semester) or part-time (6-11 credits per semester), degree-seeking undergraduate students, graduate students, and students attending a private career school may apply.  
    Should you have any questions regarding the application 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, 2016.

    Please be sure to have your completed application postmarked by April 10, 2016.

    Click here to download the scholarship application for the 2016-2017 academic year. 
    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 Ai de:  Chelsea Leigh Murphy