News from Annapolis
2020 Session:                            Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Week Eight
   *  "Can't See the Forests for the Trees"
   *   Spending Alert!
   *  Subcommittees Hold "Sham" hearing
   *   Women's Veterans Day Event   
   *  Legislative Scholarship application 
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Can't see the Forest for the Trees
Often, Legislators can't see the Big Picture 
(the Forest)
 because they're looking only at an Individual bill 
(the Tree)
How much does it cost for a Tree?

        One of the frustrating things about the way we pass bills in the legislature is that we almost never seek to consider a bill in the context of all the other bills -- and existing programs -- we have.  
        For example, HB77 is a bill proposal to support an "Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law.  The cost is estimated to be around $8,500 for FY 2021.
        How can any legislator stand up and argue that $8,500 is "too much money" for our budget to absorb?  So no one does.
        But the next bill will extend the reach of Peace Orders to cover Workplace Violence, with a price tag of $128,600.  Again, not very much in a Billion-Dollar budget, so no one gives it context.
        What about the next bill: Maryland Arts and Culture Capital Grant Program.  Few legislators will want to open themselves up to the charge that they don't support the arts -- even though this bill will cost $10.1 million annually from FY '22 to FY '27. 
       There is seldom a constituency that comes to Annapolis to lobby for spending less money.  Moreover, when a bill comes up for discussion, the process only allows us to opine on this bill;  there is no real opportunity to argue that this bill is a better (or worse) use of our taxpayers' dollars than Bill X or Bill Y.  
How much does it cost for the WOODS?
      Maryland is unique among the 50 states in that the power to set the spending limit each year is vested in the Governor.  The Legislature cannot increase the budget.  If the legislature wants to add something to the budget, it must find somewhere else to cut that amount from the budget.  
        Because so much fiscal power is vested in the Governor, the legislature found a "workaround."  In order to have a greater role budgeting the legislature adds language into bills requiring the governor to appropriate certain amounts of money for certain purposes.  This requirement  is called a mandate.   The governor at the time took this issue to court, arguing that it was an infringement on the powers of the governor granted in the Maryland Constitution.  But the Court up the legislative use of mandates.
        At the time of the court's decision, few mandates had been enacted and had little impact on the budget.  Since then, however, the legislature puts mandates on more and more bills.  Today, between entitlements and the spending mandated by the legislature, over 83% of the budget is set in stone and unavailable.  The governor has only 17% of the budget to pay for all of the services that are not already mandated.  
        And yet, every year, the legislature passes more bills with higher price tags -- and more mandates.

Spending Alert !
Out-of-Control SPENDING!
        Below is an incomplete list of this year's bills that propose additional State spending.
        Here's a question to ponder: What if all these bills passed?
Bill #
General topic
Comments about cost
HB 584
Day care centers for the elderly
Amount is an estimate
HB 1641
Shelter and Transitional Housing Facilities Grant Program    
Cost increases to $5,000,000 in FY 2022 and thereafter
HB 1567
Affordable Housing Development Credit Program
MANDATE: Cost increases to $15,000,000 in FY 2023, and continues at that level to 2033
$5,000 ,000
HB 1512
Establishes an "African American Cemeteries Preservation Fund"
MANDATE: Amount established by formula
HB 1520
Support "Sustainable" communities.
HB 1355
Inter-jurisdictional Policing Grant Program
HB 1300
Kirwan Blueprint for Maryland's Future
MANDATE: Cumulative amount over 10 years
$32 Billion
HB 1260
Reparations for Historically Black Colleges: Morgan State University
MANDATE: /year through 2031
Reparations for Historically Black Colleges: Bowie State
MANDATE: /year through 2031
Reparations for Historically Black Colleges: Coppin State
MANDATE: /year through 2031
Reparations for Historically Black Colleges: Univ. of MD, Eastern Shore
MANDATE: /year through 2031
HB 822
MD Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund
HB 709
Youth Services Bureaus
HB 07
Periodic Inspections of public & nonpublic schools for mold an moisture problems
MANDATE: Annual , costs vary in succeeding years.
HB 83
Automatic expungement of Possession of Marijuana convictions
FISCAL NOTE says "significant increase in general funds (potentially several million dollars annually)"
HB 84
Prohibiting SHA from doing any construction work between 10 pm and 6 am the following day
FISCAL NOTE says: "expenditures increase, potentially significantly"
HB 127
Maryland arts and culture grant program
MANDATE: Annual through 2027
HB 128
Body worn cameras for state police
Annual, minor variations in succeeding years
HB 136
Creates new board of On-Site Wastewater Professionals to regulate on-site wastewater services & licensing
Annual ascending amount
Establishes an entitlement program to provides State payments to private colleges for "unserved" student populations
Same amount as given to public colleges. Estimate; Annual
HB 188
Creates a new program called HealthCareMaryland, for eligible residents
Imposes a new 10% payroll tax ; special fund + payroll tax - annual
HB 202
Creates new program to give grants to local school system to implement "restorative approaches" to teaching and discipline
Annual, with standard increases.
HB 205
Requires MDOT to redirect funds to complete the planning for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project
MANDATE. $12 million in FY 2022; $15 million in FY 2023
HB 245
Creates program to allow for voter registration & voting at each public higher education institution in Maryland
MANDATE on local governments; Annual
HB 331
Requires development of guidelines for administering medical marijuana during school and after-school hours
One-time only
HB 01
Built to Learn Act, to build new or renovate schools in Maryland
The funds appropriated annually are to be collateral for long-term bonds
HB 346
Establishes an independent committee to conduct redistricting
Expense is once every ten years
HB 348
Requires State to pay AP exam fee for lower-income students
Estimated; Annual
HB 359
Extends and increases tax credits for purchase of electric vehicles
Annual, next 3 years; pending further extension.
HB 368
Requires that MDOT redirect funds to MTA to increase operating and capital for the next five years
MANDATE. Requirement MAY cause budget increase if same funds were budgeted for other projects
HB 423
Adds formula funds back into the community college budgets for this year
HB 432
To convert MTA buses to electric
Annual, beginning in FY 2023
HB 472
Provides financial assistance for community development & organizations
HB 475
For scholarships to students with disabilities in community colleges
HB 514
To enhance grants to eligible small businesses
HB 521
Creates a program to help small businesses apply for federal grant money
HB 559
Requires funds be budgeted to ensure that the value of Temporary Cash Assistance" combined with fed. food stamps equal rising percentages of the State minimum living level
MANDATE; Goes from 64% in FY 2022 to 71% in 2026 and thereafter
($6,200,000) $25,600,000
HB 564
To provide up to $1,000 a month subsidies to low-income seniors to reside in assisted living facilities
State has similar program; this bill increases funding; amount hard to assess. Number is estimated. Annual
HB 584
Requires the State to reimburse Adult Day Care Centers for partial days, under certain circumstances
ENTITLEMENT: Increase is very difficult to determine; Number is estimated. Annual
HB 606
Requires Governor to include a sum certain in the existing Community Development Fund
HB 629
Requires State to deposit $100 in an omnibus college savings account for each child born or adopted, beginning Jan 1, 2022
MANDATE: Continues for six years. Final year amount is at least $5,600,000 since program ends mid-year.
HB 659
Increases pensions for law enforcement officers
Annual, with standard increase
HB 698
Increases benefits under SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) f/k/a. Food Stamps
HB 689
To make Maryland's environmental policy consistent with "National Environmental Policy Act." Bill is contingent upon the adoption of the NEPA rule change.
If contingency is met, likely results in a significant increase due to an increase in administrative costs & the expanded requirements. Bill affects many, if not all, State agencies. Includes an increase in the types of State actions that trigger MEPA oversight, and more extensive environmental reviews. Issuance of State authorizations, permits, and certifications will now be subject to MEPA review.
EXAMPLE: MDE's Wetlands and Waterways Program anticipates staffing costs increase by 25% to implement the additional oversight
Too many taxes!
        In addition to overspending, the legislature is planning on increasing our taxes.  
        HB 1628 that we mentioned last week, had a hearing on Monday.  A committee vote is likely to come soon, in order to provide funding for the Kirwan bill.  
        HB 1543 is another tax bill filed this year that will create additional "fees" (taxes!).   This bill assesses taxes on polluters, but directs $350,000,000 of the funds collected to the Kirwan Blueprint for Maryland's Future!   It is summarized below.
HB 1543 -- Climate Crisis and Education Act , purports to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This bill has 68 co-sponsors.   The bill creates several new "fees," (meaning, taxes).
1.    A Greenhouse Gas Pollution Fee.  This Fee is to be collected on all (f) fossil fuels brought into the State, and (2) electricity used in the State that is generated by fossil fuels.   The fee assessed per ton of carbon dioxide  equivalent multiplied by:   
  • For non-transportation fuels, $15, increasing to $60 in 2030 and thereafter through 2029
  • For transportation fuels, $10 increasing to $37 in 2030 and each year thereafter. 
  • Per kilowatt hour on each electricity supplier
The fees collected above are specifically directed into the following Funds:
  • KIRWAN FUND: $350,000,000 of the fees go to support the Blueprint for Maryland's Future's
  • BENEFIT FUND:  This Fund will get the lesser of one-half the total amount of fees collected, or whatever remains after the payment to Kirwan.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE FUND:  Gets whatever's left after the above distributions, PLUS
2.    A fee that will be charged on new motor vehicles with an EPA carbon dioxide pollution rating above the minimum.  The fee will be calculated by using the results of a vehicle's emissions test.  If that test indicates that the vehicle is emitting more than the 400 grams per mile "minimum level," a fee will be determined by multiplying the vehicle's carbon dioxide overage by $1.25.  The 400 gram minimum will decrease each year by 10 grams per mile; the $1.25 will be increased by $0.25 annually.  
       This fee will NOT be charged on commercial trucks; agricultural vehicles; public transportation vehicles; ambulances; or state, county or municipal vehicles used for work.      
       Seems this bill is aimed directly at personal automobile users.
Sub-Committee hearing on Kirwan b ill amendments  called "a sham!"  
Minority Muzzled
        This past Thursday, the House of Delegates Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on HB 1300, the 172-page "Kirwan" bill that will "totally transform" the k-12 school system in Maryland.
        Approximately 300 proposed amendments to the Kirwan bill that had been submitted by members of the House.  Unfortunately, we have no idea what was in 200 of them.
       You would think that, with a super-majority in both the house and senate, Democrats wouldn't have to stoop to dirty tricks to get this bill passed.
        You'd be wrong.
        FIRST,  the committee's Democrat leadership  unilaterally  pared the number of amendments down from 300 to 100 --  without any input from the minority Republican committee members or leaders.  
        SECOND, they wouldn't let the minority members even  see the 200 amendments they discarded.  
       THIRD, wouldn't let the minority members have copies of the amendments that were being discussed during the hearing, and
       FINALLY, t hey compressed the hearing on those 100 amendments into a 30-minute speed-read fiasco!
        To add insult to injury, the Ways & Means Committee literally hid all of the amendments -- except one.  
        Having closely followed the progress of Kirwan  for the last three years, I asked my Legislative Aide, Chelsea Murphy, to go to the Committee room and get a copy of any amendments submitted.  
        She was told to look in the Kirwan amendment file.  There was exactly one amendment in there: MINE.  
        Upon asking, Chelsea was told, 'well, if that's the only one in there, it's the only one we've gotten.'  Fortunately, I had previously gotten copies of about seven early amendments, from one of the committee members.  When Chelsea pointed out that we  knew there were more amendments, the response was, "well, I guess they haven't been filed, yet."
        As you might expect of a diligent legislative aide, Chelsea asked if she could just look through the unfiled amendments; she was told, no.     
The Pragmatic Reason
        I surmise that there are two reasons the majority leadership is rushing to push this legislation through as fast as they can.
        The pragmatic reason is that the Kirwan legislation is, as Chairman Kirwan likes to say, 'a transformational program' that needs all the various pieces of the legislation to stay intact for it to be successful.  
        The longer people have to read and study the 172-page bill, the more likely it is that various interest groups will find fault with some part of the bill, and with more time, be able to put together a lobbying effort likely to change significant parts of the bill.
The Political Reason
        The political reason is very simple.  The majority wants to get this bill through the legislative process and onto the Governor's desk in time to take a veto override vote this session. (assuming the Governor intends to veto the bill.)
          If the Governor fails to sign or veto a bill within ten days following its receipt from the General Assembly, the bill will be deemed vetoed.  The General Assembly then has the right to take a vote to override the governor's veto-- provided we are still in session.
        If there are fewer than ten days left in session, the Governor can simply hold the bill.  The ten days will run out after Session ends and the majority party must wait until the next session convenes, nine months later, to take a veto override vote.
The Womens Legislative Caucus Celebrates 
Women Veterans
Delegate Kittleman 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.

  For questions regarding the application process, call my Annapolis office and speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy, my Legislative Aide, at 410-841-3556.
Please be sure to have your completed application postmarked 
by April 1, 2020     
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