News from Annapolis
2020 Session:                            Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Week five
  *  Howard Delegation to hold Public Hearing 
  *  Too many bills?
  *  Our Civics bill gets a hearing
  *  HB 1: The Built to Learn Act of 2020
  *  Crime & Punishment
  *  Howard Delegation weekly meeting
  *  Legislative Scholarship application & information
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Public Notice for Hearing on Statewide Issues
Bill Hearing in Howard County
this Thursday
February 13th  --   7:30p.m.
Banneker Room, George Howard Building
3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD

The Howard County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly, chaired by Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, will hold a public hearing for citizen input on statewide issues that may be considered by the legislature during the upcoming legislative session.   
No Howard County local bills or bond request that were previously given a public hearing will be heard. 
While speaking is  not  a requirement, the Delegation will hear testimony from members of the public on any statewide issue they would like to bring to the Delegation's attention. There will be a  3 minute limit  to testimonies.  
Signup will  begin at 7:00pm and will  close at 7:20pm.  
Advance sign up is not available. 
You are encouraged to bring  15 - 20 copies of your testimony for the Delegation  
Too Many Bills?

        An article in Maryland Matters this past week reported on concerns of legislators that the sheer number of bills filed each year is becoming unmanageable.  This year, the problem was exacerbated by the departure of several very senior DLS bill drafters just before session began.  The new bill drafters are doing a yeoman's job preparing bills for legislators who often give DLS just an idea of what they'd like to accomplish.  But the number of bill requests grows every year.

        Last year, 1,430 bills were introduced in the House and 1,051 were introduced in the Senate.  
        Hearing every bill  is difficult in a 90-day session.  The Legislature prides itself on giving every bill a hearing, and every witness a chance to testify. 
        In the Senate, where they have only four standing committees, there is a growing sense that "We have to do something!"  
        Here are some of the suggested "fixes," along with my thoughts on each of them
  • Put a limit on public testimony.  Committees already impose either a 2- or 3-minute limit on all testimony other than the presenter, but enforce it loosely, at best.  If the limit were strictly enforced in one or two hearings, witnesses would come prepared to stay within that limit.  The one thing we absolutely should NOT do is limit the number of people who can testify.  Robbing our constituents of the right to speak on issues is wrong.
  • Put a limit on the number of bills legislators can introduce.  While this idea is appealing (there are legislators who introduce 50-60 bills a year), I have a better suggestion.  Limit the number of bills a legislator can introduce during session, but allow any number of bills to be pre-filed.  Pre-filing exists, but few legislators take advantage of it.  Not only pre-filing more bills help DLS bill drafters, we could begin to hear bills from the first day of session.  As it is now, much of the first three weeks is wasted while we wait for the bills to be drafted.
  • A two-tier system for classifying bills.  I suppose this means that we have "important bills," and "less important bills."  You can see the problem right off.   Nonetheless, there may be ways to accomplish something useful through a different kind of tiering.
        In Week 2 of my 2017 Newsletter, I reported on the number of bills filed that year, and wondered what on earth can all those bill DO?"  So I loosely categorized them, creating the categories as I went along.  I found: Local Bills, Alcohol Bills, State Debt bills, Bills that increase/decrease taxes, Licensing bills, Major Bills, Studies, Technical bills, and other.  This list is far from comprehensive, but perhaps we can use this kind of information to help streamline our bill hearings during the 90-day sessions.
Our Civics Bill gets a Hearing
        "Twenty years ago, a survey conducted by the National Constitution Center found that more American teens could name the Three Stooges than the three branches of our federal government.  More teenagers knew that Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Titanic than could name the Vice President."   to read more . . .
        Joshua Barlow, teacher at the Free State Challenge Academy, joined Kathy and me, testifying in support of our bill which would have students take and pass the civics test given by the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service to immigrants applying to become citizens.
        Although our testimony was met with qualified support, education officials still have concerns about the bill.  For example, a member of Ways & Means who is a retired teacher worried that it would usurp time from an already crowded curriculum.  
More Bills:  HB #1
The "Built to Learn Act of 2020"
        The House Appropriations Committee on which I serve, voted this past Friday in unanimous support of HB-01, the "Built to Learn Act of 2020."  
        This bill authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to issue up to $2.2 billion in revenue bonds for public school construction across the State.  These revenue bonds are backed solely by up to $125 million of the stream of revenue from the gaming industry that flows into the Education Trust Fund each year --  and not by the State's "full faith and credit" that guaran ties General Obligation Bonds. 
         This bill passed the House last year, and has the strong support of the Senate and the Governor.  
        Although I almost never vote for bills that require ("mandate") spending, I supported the Built to Learn Act because it works!  A similar program created in 2013 to build and rehab schools in Baltimore City produced excellent results, and I am convinced that this bill will give taxpayers our money's worth in new and rehabilitated schools.  
Crime & Punishment
CRIME is #1 issue in Maryland
     Somewhat surprisingly, Marylanders rank crime as their number 1 issue of concern, well ahead of education.  
        The legislature has focused a great deal of time, effort, and money on improving our K-12 education system, and given very little time or attention to getting control of the violence that is increasing across the state. 

Republican Leaders Speak Out, Introduce Serious Crime-Fighting Bills
       Baltimore City 's sky high murder rate captures national attention, and now  crime from the city is leaking out into Baltimore County, which had an 85% increase in its homicide rate  in 2019. 
         Baltimore City legislators response is to blame underlying socio-economic issues for the mounting crime in the City.  While there is merit to their claim, remaking an entire culture isn't going to happen i n the midst of crime and violence that continues to spiral out of control. 
       "This General Assembly is doing nothing to protect people in our communities. It is shameful!" said Minority Leader Nic Kipke at a recent  press conference held this past week.
        The minority legislators are working closely with Governor Hogan on a series of bills that address specific problems.
        "Our bills have the support of more than 90% of the people in Maryland, and even higher support in Baltimore City," said Governor Hogan at his press conference last Tuesday.        
 Republican legislative caucus 
anti-crime bills
Stopping Dangerous & Violent Criminals Act of 2020.
Requires violent offenders to serve at least 90% of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.

Protecting Marylanders from Violent Crime Act of 2020
Requires state and local corrections agencies to cooperate with ICE detainers for those convicted of violent crimes, terrorism, and participating in criminal street gangs.

Gun Theft is a Felony Act of 2020
Makes the crime of stealing a gun a felony instead of a misdemeanor!
Truth in Plea Deals Act of 2020
Ensures accurate and truthful reporting of criminal sentences issued in plea deals.

Victim Empowerment in Plea Deals Act of 2020
Gives victims of crime a louder voice when plea deals are arranged.

Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2020
Allows the filming of the sentencing portion of criminal trials.
 the Governor's anti-crime bills
SB 273  Violent Firearm Offenders Act 
  • increases penalties for repeat offenders who use guns to commit violent crime
  • significantly toughens penalties for those who use and illegally possess guns plus those who supply illegal guns to violent criminals
  • Includes truth-in-sentencing meaning that criminals who use guns to commit violent crimes will serve their time consecutively.
HB 357: Witness Intimidation Act of 2020.
  • toughens penalties for witness intimidation where it results in serious physical injury or death
  • expands the courts' ability to admit statements made by intimidated witnesses to all crimes.
HB 355: Judicial Transparency Act.
  • Secures public's Right to Know how our criminal justice system deals with violent offenders.
  • Requires the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to track and publish detailed information on the sentences that are handed down by judges for violent crimes
HB 358: Victims' Right to Restitution Act of 2020
  • will make restitution orders to victims of crimes mandatory
  • includes the governor's investment of $4 million for witness and victim relocation in Baltimore City
 the Democrat anti-crime bill
This bill would even prevent you from letting a friend try out your rifle since that would be 'loaning' it.
        Maryland's laws already regulate gun use and ownership more heavily than most other states.   I'm not sure that  is something gun control advocates want to celebrate, however, considering Baltimore City is the "murder capital" of the nation.
        Nonetheless, the Democratic majority in the Maryland General Assembly seems to believe that the answer to more crime is to pass more gun control laws -- "to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."
        This year, their support is given to HB 4, Rifles & Shotguns -- Secondary Transactions.   The proposed law would make it illegal for a gun owner to sell, rent, gift, or loan their rifle or shotgun to someone else without authorization from a Licensed Gun Dealer who must perform a background check on the potential new owner, facilitate the transfer -- and charge a reasonable fee.

Under HB 4, you may not --

  • transfer
  • sell
  • rent
  • gift
  • loan
  • furnish or
  • deliver
         In essence, this bill will ban many sales and transfers of rifles or shotguns in Maryland between private individuals.  Although there are exemptions including family members and exigent circumstances, firearm sales between friends, neighbors, or fellow hunters would be covered by the provisions of this law.
Draconian Penalty Provisions
          Up to now, rifles and shotguns are the only type of firearm that have not come under the new regulatory schemes -- primarily because it is extremely rare to find such guns used to commit a crime.  Nonetheless, requiring background checks for owners of firearms has become the norm in this state, for better or worse.  So why is there such strong opposition to HB 4?  Because the penalties for violating this law are exorbitant, particularly when compared with penalties for other gun crimes.  Here  are some of the existing gun-related penalties:
  • carrying a firearm or any deadly weapon on public school property is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • leaving a loaded firearm where you know (or should know) that an unsupervised child under age 16 would get access to it:  a fine of up to $1,000 
  • possessing banned weapons: for an assault gun, a maximum of three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • carrying a handgun without a permit is a misdemeanor in Maryland, punishable by 30 days to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250 to $2,500
The penalty for selling, renting, giving or lending your rifle or shotgun to a friend under  HB 4?   "Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both."
        "It's five years that they can go to jail for lending a gun to dove hunt, or to waterfowl hunt, or to shoot a piece of paper," said Delegate Jeff Ghrist in opposing this legislation.  But if a stranger were to steal his gun, they would only face up to six months in jail for theft under $1,500.
Howard County 
District 9-A News
Howard County Delegation
Work/Vote Session
February 12, 2020
Howard County Delegation Room 
(LHOB Room 218) - 9:00am
The Delegation will discuss and possibly vote on the following proposed local bills. This agenda is subject to change at the discretion of the Delegation or Chairs. This meeting will be live streamed on the Howard County Delegation Facebook page .
Legislative Bond Initiative Requests:
  •  Howard County Butterfly Building Design, Ho. Co. 28-20; Sponsored by: Howard County Delegation  
Economic/Alcohol Bills:
  • Howard County - Alcoholic Beverages - Minimum Food Sales Requirement, Ho. Co. 18-20; Sponsored by: Senator Lam
  • Howard County - Alcoholic Beverages Licenses - Limit to Number of Licenses Per District, Ho. Co. 38-20; Sponsored by: Senator Guzzone*
Education Bills:
  • Howard County - Public School Program Capacity - School Board and Planning Commission, Ho. Co. 13-20; Sponsored by: Delegate Atterbeary
  • Howard County - Commercial Building Excise Tax - Board of Education Deferred Maintenance, Ho. Co. 19-20; Sponsored by: Delegate Atterbeary
  • Howard County Board of Education - School Redistricting Plan - Testimony, Ho. Co. 41-20; Sponsored by: Senator Lam*
  • Howard County - Moderate Income Housing Unit Requirements - Prohibition Against Fee-in-Lieu, Ho. Co. 11-20; Sponsored by: Delegate Atterbeary and Delegate Terrasa
  • Howard County - Ethics - Limit on Developer Contributions, Ho. Co. 15-20; Sponsored by: Delegate Miller
  • Howard County - Public Campaign Financing - Board of Education, Ho. Co. 22-20; Sponsored by: Senator Lam
For further information, contact Kam Bridges at the Howard County Delegation office at 410-841-3360  or
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