News from Annapolis
2018 Session:  Week  4              Delegate Trent K ittleman - District 9A
Delegate Trent Kittleman
  • ALERT!
  • Good News in Governor's SOTS
  • Tax reform: Comptroller's Report
  • ALERT!
  • Assault on the 2nd Amendment  
  • From my Constituents
  • Fun Facts
  • Legislative Scholarship Information
Next week: A look at some of the more interesting bills among the over 4,000 that have been requested this year.
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Delegates block push to delay Paid Sick Leave -- Law goes into effect in 2 weeks
          "Less than two weeks before a new law allows thousands of part-time workers across Maryland to start accruing paid sick leave, an effort to give confused business owners more time to prepare appears to have hit a dead end.
          "Companies will be required to start tracking the time off their employees earn when the law takes effect Feb. 11 . . .  But no regulations will be in place to guide businesses in complying. . ." more
Article in Baltimore Sun, by Scott Dance, February 1, 2018 
State of the State
Hogan Hits the Mark in SOTS Address
          On January 31, Governor Hogan gave his State of the State address to both legislative chambers gathered together in the House Chamber.  His job was made easier by virtue of the fact that, under his stewardship, the Maryland economy has made dramatic
          On occasion, the press is critical of any politician's claims of achievement, and does what is called a "Fact-Check," where the press looks at the source information for each claim, and writes an article usually disparaging the claims.
           Thus, on the same day as the speech, The Baltimore Sun published an article fact-checking Governor Hogan's speech,("Analysis: Fact-checking Maryland Gov. Hogan's 2018 State of State speech,") 
        Below are the most significant achievements the Governor mentioned, and below each statement is the bottom line conclusion of the Sun's fact-checker.  Your're going to be pleasantly surprised. 
  • "We went from losing 100,000 jobs to gaining more than 110,000 jobs."
    • Hogan can justifiably claim that 111,500 nonfarm jobs were created in Maryland during his first three years in office, January 2015 to December 2017..."
  •  "We have been breaking records at the Port of Baltimore for three straight years."
    • The Sun called the statement "more accurate in spirit than in literal fact," noting that the Port set a record for general cargo this year and in 2016 "after 2015 showed a slight dip." The article went on to say that "[t]he governor is justified, however, in boasting about long-term trends at the port, which has been on a strong upward trend since 2010."  
  • "We are fourth among all 50 states for entrepreneurial business growth."
    • The Sun article not only validates the truth of this statement, but went on to say, "[t]he number looks even better for Hogan when compared with two years ago, when Maryland ranked 13th." 
  • "The day after I was sworn in we submitted the first balanced budget in a decade, which eliminated nearly all of the $5.1 billion structural deficit which we inherited."
    • The Sun only quibbles with the fact that Hogan "equates a balanced budget" with a structurally balanced budget.  A 'structurally balanced budget' means that projected future revenues are able to meet the built-in future expenditures.  As the article went on to say, "Hogan made impressive strides toward eliminating the structural deficit during his first year and has continued to do so."
  • "For three straight years we have delivered record investments in education. This year, let's continue that historic trend. And do it for the fourth straight year."
    • The Sun article notes, "Hogan is correct that his administration has proposed record K-12 education spending each year. He is proposing spending $6.5 billion next year for another record," adding the caveat that the increases are largely formula-driven. 
  • "We ensured that every single school system in Maryland will receive increased funding from the state."
    • With the same caveat regarding the formula-driven increases, the article states, "Hogan has ensured that no system will lose money next year by proposing $15.2 million more than required to help protect Baltimore and other jurisdictions from what otherwise would be funding decreases because enrollments have declined.  It should be noted that the governor could have proposed to fund the basic formula at less than 100 percent, as he did with another index his first year, but has chosen not to."
Legislators plan to Reinstate the Obamacare 
"Individual Mandate" requirement 
          "Maryland is first out of the gate with a plan to replace the individual mandate . . ."   more
          "The Maryland proposal would reinstate financial penalties for those who decide to go without health coverage. "   more
Tax Reform: Information Update
         Maryland's Comptroller is tasked by law with reporting on the changes in federal income tax law.  The Comptroller's Office has published a 45-page report that will be a big help to any Marylander looking to better understand how the new law will affect his or her family.  You can get a copy of the Report online by clicking here. 
          The 4-page Executive Summary uses the data from a prior year (2014) to show to how the new federal tax reform law would have effected Maryland taxpayers.  
        I've reproduced the Report's pie charts and what they likely mean for Marylanders going forward -- IF the State takes no action to modify Maryland's tax laws.  
Analyzing the Effect of the federal tax reforms on Marylanders 
(using 2014 data for illustrative purpose)
Federal Tax Effect
      *   71% of 
Maryland taxpayers (2.03 million) would have seen a reduction federal tax of $3.54 Billion.
     *  13% of the State's taxpayers (376,000) would have seen an increase in federal tax of $782 million.   The net federal tax cut for Marylanders  would have been $2.75  billion.
State & Local Tax Effect
          Because Maryland State and local tax laws work in concert with the federal tax code, the positive impact on federal taxes may result in a negative impact on state and local taxes. 
          Most taxpayers will aim to  minimize their overall tax bill.  Assuming 80% do just that, while the remaining 20 % focus just on minimizing their federal taxes, the results on taxpayer State and Local taxes are as follows:
   *   almost 2 million taxpayers, or 68% of the population, would see no change
   *   28% would see an increase; and 
   *   Just four percent would see a decrease.
Assault on the 2nd Amendment
Every Monday night for the hour before Session starts, supporters of the 2nd Amendment and the Right-to-Carry stand out in the cold with hand-painted messages supporting good bills and opposing the bad.  In this photo from 2016, we were opposing HB 1000 and SB 1040.  Thankfully, both bills failed!
Further Assault on the 2nd Amendment
       In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed, and Governor O'Malley signed,  the "Firearm Safety Act," that came to be known as "SB 281." 
       This legislation significantly modified and expanded the regulation of firearms, firearms dealers, and ammunition in the State.  For example, the law:
  *  F urther limited Marylanders' right to wear, carry or transport a handgun;
  *  Created a new licensing scheme for handguns.  The new "handgun qualification license" requires a $50 application fee, criminal history records that applicant must pay for, fingerprints, four hours of approved firearm training at an estimated cost of $100 - $300. 
  *  Completely banned "assault long guns," which are the 45 specific firearms that were then just regulated under the Public Safety laws.
  *  Baned 15 assault pistols
  *  Banned detachable magazines able to contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition (prior size, 20 rounds)
         This bill was strongly opposed by many organizations, but by even more individual citizens.  Over 1,000 "real people" came to testify against the bill in a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee that lasted until 4:00 am.  Their testimony went largely unheeded.
After SB 281. . .
            Although over 240 "gun bills" have been introduced over the last four years, few have passed, and those that have passed have been technical or very minor tweaks.  
          Among the 240 gun bills, a significant majority have been filed by second amendment advocates  seeking to make the regulations work just a bit better for people; virtually none of them has passed--not even Delegate Deb Rey's most obviously rational bill 
          Her bill passed the House and passed the Senate, with a minor amendment.  It failed to become law because the conference committee ran out of time to reconcile the differences.  T his year we will see more action.  

The Good.   Governor Hogan has submitted a bill (HB-101) that will: (1) establish a repeat offender penalty and increase other incarceration penalties for specified firearm crimes; and (2) expand the definition of "crime of violence" to include specified firearm crimes.

The Not so Good HB 819 may be the most problematic of the anti-2nd amendment bills.  The right to carry a concealed gun is strictly limited in Maryland.  The applicant must take 16 hours of training, pass all the other qualifications and then he or she will be granted a permit only if the applicant has a "good and substantial reason."  
          The Maryland State Police, who review the applications, require the applicant to "show a documented threat or other specific reason that they believe they need a permit to carry a gun outside the home."   And self-defense is not considered a good and substantial reason.
          Currently, anyone denied a right-to-carry permit may appeal the decision to the Handgun Permit Review Board.  This Board is comprised of five members, appointed by the governor with consent from the Senate.
          Since Governor Hogan' appointees have been in place, the gun control advocates are unhappy.  According to an article in the Baltimore Sun "The number of appeals heard by the board remains relatively small, though it appears to be growing, from 32 in 2015 to 53 in 2016. And the number of overturned decisions is growing, too, from nine in 2015 to 15 last year. In just the first two months of 2017, the board heard eight cases and overturned the state police six times." 
          HB-819 would eliminate the Handgun Permit Repeal Board and send appeals to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  
          Ah, yes.  It is indeed an election year.
and from my Constituents . . .
          I am fortunate to have a very well-educated and articulate constituency.  
          Recently, I received an email from a constituent who contacts me on a regular basis about issues of interest to him.  He is an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and makes an eloquent and unique, real-life case for his point of view in the email below.
(P.S. I am in complete agreement with his point of view.)
Please SUPPORT House Bill 647
Public Safety - Permit to Carry, Wear, or Transport a Handgun - Qualifications
            During my life I have trained in 6 forms of martial arts. How many of those do you think are effective against a bear? A rabid raccoon? Here we are, the most intelligent, yet frail creature on this planet and we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to severe injury and even death from such creatures; that's certainly not using our superior intellect! 
           I have an adventurous family; it seems we end up in places where you can see no other human from horizon to horizon; we're on our own. All of this adventure became WAY too real last Summer when we were on our way to view the solar eclipse in Kentucky when we broke down at night, in far western Maryland; of course, half way between two very distant exits on a completely unlit stretch of road. 
           You can't stay in your disabled vehicle, what with the speeding semis so you stand well off the road, right at the edge of those very dark woods. 
          Your eyes dart back and forth with every rustle of the brush wondering what can see you that you can't see. 
          Then, of course, there also is chance that a "good Samaritan" isn't exactly so good when he sees your wife and two lovely teenage daughters. Paraphrasing a movie line, "On the remote roadside, no one can hear you scream". 
          So there we stood for well over an hour until our tow truck finally arrive; thank goodness for cell reception! Options. Self-defense flexibility based upon real world situations without legal worry is all we ask."
Fun Facts
There really IS good news in the world
  • Since 1991 the number of children who die before age five has been cut in half
  • In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty; today only about a tenth do.
  • Women are gaining political power and now make up more than a fifth of the members of national parliaments
  • More that 90% of all children in the world attend primary school
  • In the U.S., you are far less likely to die on the job or in a car than your grandparent were.

Source: Bill Gates editorial, TIME Magazine, Jan. 15, 2018

How to apply for a Trent Kittleman Legislative Scholarship 

          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 under-graduate students, graduate students, and students attending a private career school may apply. 
            Click here for the application.  For questions regarding the application process, please call my Annapolis office and ask to speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy at 410-841-3556.  

DEADLINE:   Please be sure to have your compleated application  postmarked by  April 9, 2018.
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