News from Annapolis
2017 Session:  Week 12                      Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
TODAY is SINE DIE -- the End is Near!
  • Governor's Veto
  • Governor signs bills
  • Governor Ignores bills
  • Breaking News: Sanctuary Bill is Dead
  • Goings on in Annapolis


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Governor Hogan's Veto
Editorial,  "Maryland Threatens To  Reverse Its Progress In Education"  The Washington Post, 3/23/17
"Protect our Schools" Act: Vetoed -- Veto Overridden.
        Governor Hogan came through on his promise to veto HB 978, a bill that was opposed by the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the Maryland State Board of Education, among others.
       In vetoing the bill, Governor Hogan said, " I believe very strongly that every child in Maryland deserves a great education regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in.  This legislation would make that nearly impossible."
       On Thursday, April 6, the Legislature voted to override the Governor's veto. The vote was 90 to 50 in the House, along straight party lines, and  32-15 in the Senate, with one Democrat (Sen. Ed DeGrange) voting with the 14 Republicans.
Editorial, " Maryland Threatens to Reverse its Progress in Education," The Washington Post
"How much worse can it get?"
       During the debate on this bill on the House floor last week, a number of my colleagues spoke passionately on many of the flaws in this bill; specifically, they pointed out the facts that: (1) the bill assigns only 65% weight to academic successes in holding schools accountable, and (2) the bill blithely usurps the powers of the MD Department of Education, ignoring the work it has done to develop a new draft accountability policy after dozens of meetings with stakeholders, surveys, committee hearings and other efforts to gather and evaluate input.
        My own concern centered on the fact that this bill specifically excludes methods of improving failing schools, no matter how bad they get.  Below is the speech I gave on the House floor on this issue:
"This bill suggests if a failing school doesn't improve after two years, to "
consult to develop additional strategies."  

 If the school is failing after a third year, the bill says, "determine the appropriate intervention strategy."

What possible strategies are left at that point?  The bill makes no suggestions of what TO do.  Instead, it says what you MAY NOT DO, including:
  • Converting a public school to a charter school;
  • Issuing scholarships to public school students to attend nonpublic schools through direct vouchers, tax credit programs, or education savings accounts;
  • Creating a state-run school district;
  • Creating a local school system in addition to the 24 established school systems;
  • Converting or creating a new public school without local board approval;
  • Contracting with a for-profit company.
The issue of charter schools and programs such as BOOST may be controversial, and you may not believe that such choices will fix the problem.

But I have to ask you, for the children in the myriad failing schools, HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT GET?!?

I represent Howard and Carroll Counties.  Last spring, Howard and Carroll students scored better [than other counties] in nearly every grade and subject on Maryland's annual standardized tests. 

But what about the kids who don't live here.  In Baltimore City, for example, only 15% of students overall were passing those same tests!  For over 40 years, we've been pouring more and more money into the Baltimore City Public City School System (BCPSS) expecting education to improve.  

It hasn't.  We've wasted almost 40 years of children hoping that we can buy our way into a good education and IT HASN'T WORKED!

Since 1978 when the state created a funding formula to account for the differences in local wealth and to equalize funding across all districts, the effort to bring education parity to the children of BaltImore City with money has FAILED.

It's been just 15 years since the Thornton funding went into effect, vastly increasing education funding to less wealthy jurisdictions such as the City.  Baltimore City now has the 4TH HIGHEST PER-PUPIL EXPENDITURE OUT OF THE 100 LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE NATION.  And Baltimore City teachers are paid the highest average salary in the State.

Notwithstanding all this, the newest study commissioned by the state to update Thornton thinks that the state should give Baltimore an extra $434 million per year.  

And this year, we are in the process of passing a bill to increase the BCPSS budget by another $129 million by exempting them from paying the Maryland Transit Administration for the students who ride the public buses to school.  In other words, we are now subsidizing Baltimore City Schools out of the TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND!

If there was any hope that more funding would actually improve education for the children in Baltimore City (and elsewhere), I would be glad to support such funding.  But funding alone doesn't work, it hasn't worked, and there is no earthly reason to believe it will suddently work in the future.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result 'the next time.'

Let's stop this insanity.  It's time to give these alternatives a try.
Governor Hogan Signs Bills
        At this time, Governor Hogan has signed the following 11 bills.  (You can see the final text of the bill by clicking on the bill number below.)
  • HB 119Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority - Washington Metrorail Safety 3 Commission - Establishment and Compact
  • HB 503State Budget - Appropriations - Income Tax Revenue Estimate Cap and Revenue Stabilization Account
  • HB 1109 - Teachers' Retirement and Pension Systems - County Boards of Education Payments
  • HB 684 - Education - State Grants for Education Aid
  • SB 22 - Criminal Procedure - Criminal Injuries Compensation Board - Claimant Award Basis
  • SB 24 - Public Safety - Eyewitness Identification Policies - Repeal of Submission Requirement
  • SB 37 - Funds - Obsolete Provisions - Repeal
  • SB 182 - Baltimore City and Charles, Prince George's, and Harford Counties - Recall of Former Judge for Temporary Assignment - Eligibility
  • HB 1632 - Public Health - Certificates of Birth -Births Outside an Institution
  • HB 642 - Civil Actions - Child Sexual Abuse - Statute of Limitations and Required Findings
  • HB 1325 - Oil and Natural Gas - Hydraulic Fracturing - Prohibition
Governor Hogan Ignores Bills
No veto for some bad bills.
        More than a dozen bills became law this week without the Governor's signature.  Although Governor Hogan chose not to make an official announcement regarding his decision not to sign these bills, he said in an interview with Hagerstown TV station WHAG that the bills "weren't even worth looking at because they didn't really accomplish anything.  It was just sort of political posturing."  Most of the bills were opposed by all or almost all Republican legislators, often resulting in lengthy floor fights.
       Four of the bills the Governor referred to as political posturing are what the MarylandReporter and this Newsletter referred to as the legislature's Trump-related (or anti-Trump) legislation.  The four bills are: 
  • HB 913: Attorney General - Powers - Maryland Defense Act of 2017
  • HB 1083: Health - Family Planning Services - Continuity of Care
  • SB 571: Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act (commission to monitor and assess impact of repeal/replace of Obamacare
  • SB 884Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission
        The first of these -- HB 913 -- will cost the state $1 million annually, and may cause us to become embroiled in some ugly litigation against the federal government.
        The other laws three do nothing more than promise to spend whatever money the federal government stops sending us for Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, and to re-regulate whatever regulations the federal government removes from financial institutions.
  • HB 271 (& SB484): Maryland Transit Administration - Farebox Recovery Rate - Repeal
        This is another do-nothing bill.  The law repeals the requirment that the Maryland Transit Administration ("MTA") recover at least 35% of its operating costs.  The reason it is a "do-nothing" bill is because MTA has never recovered anywhere close to 35% of its operating costs.  Indeed, the original goal was 50%.  After years of failing to meet that goal, it was reduced to 35%.  This bill is a "policy statement" (we don't intend to hold MTA accountable to any standard) rather than a change in actual practice.
  • HB 516:  Workgroup to Study the Implementation of Universal Access to Prekindergarten for 4-year-olds.
        This is one of the many studies, task forces, and/or workgroups that the legislature spends money on every year.  While the cost of such workgroups is not overly concerning, the effort is a precursor to providing the basis for offering universal pre-kindergarten to all Marylanders.  And that is an issue and concern of major proportions.   
  • SB 291:  Maryland Environmental Service - Collective Bargaining
        When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Wagner Act in 1935 creating the National Labor Relations Board to regulate relations between unions and employers in the private sector, he wrote: 
" All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.  . . .It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. . . . The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
Today, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that"
"Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (34.4 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent)."
And every year, the legislature looks for new sectors of employees to whom they can grant the powers of collective bargaining -- whether the employees want it or not!   Last year, it was the community colleges; this year, the Maryland Environmental Service.  However, this bill doesn't do anything other than give the employees of MES the right to bargain collectively; time will tell whether they decide to do so or not.

        The Governor also allowed HB 152 to become law without his signature.  This is the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act that was necessary this year to reconcile the budget with the legal spending mandates that could not be fulfilled.  
        For a complete list of the Governor's actions on bills as they are sent over from the Legislature, click here.
Breaking News: 
Sanctuary Bill Dead
The Sanctuary State Bill in Maryland is OFFICIALLY DEAD! The sponsor withdrew the bill Friday night after it became clear that it did not have the votes to pass the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Goings on in Annapolis
Republican Caucus gathers to cheer on the O's
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