News from Annapolis
2018 Session:  Week   7             Delegate Trent K ittleman - District 9A
Delegate Trent Kittleman

You're invited to "District 9 Night"

  • Once Upon a Time: the Beer Battle Story
  • "Comcast Newsmakers" Interview
  • Fun Maryland Facts
  • Scholarship Information
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Join us for our 
District 9 Open House
Battle of the Beers
        When I entered the Maryland General Assembly four years ago,  the only think I knew about wine and beer is (1) drink in moderation, and (2) you can't buy them in grocery stores.  
         I now know that the alcohol industry i n Maryland is subject to one of the most complex regulatory structures in the country.
         I also know that the effort to fairly regulate this industry turned last Friday's hearing before the Economic Matters Committee into the strangest "boxing match" I've ever witnessed.
          For that reason, I thought you might like an inside view of this historic contest.  
Once Upon a Time . . .
          Beer drinkers unite! Sit back, relax, while we witness the most anticipated political boxing match in history.  Are you ready!
* * * * *
            And now, happening at the Lowes House Office Building, in ring 2, the most famous match in legislative boxing history, in association with and sponsored by the undefeated, undisputed king of beers, "Made in Maryland."
            In the blue corner, wearing the blond hair and red tie, and weighing in at about . . . not very much, is Maryland Comptroller, Peter "Fearless" Franchot, representing the "Small Craft Beer Brewers." Stenciled on his robe and gloves is the mantra, "Reform on Tap Act of 2018." In an interview before the match, Fearless said, "This bill creates a world without limits for our craft brewers."
            In the red corner, wearing suits, ties and desks, and weighing in at 4,830 pounds, are the 23 Lawmakers, who prefer to box in teams. Captain of the Lawmakers, wearing a white shirt, is Derek "Mad Dog" Davis. Stenciled on the Lawmakers robes is the mantra, "We try harder,"
            The publicity preceding this match-up has been electrifying, as Fearless Franchot taunted his Lawmaker Opponents on his Facebook Page, calling them "idiots." He charged the Lawmakers with making Maryland a "national laughing stock," and dubbed the match the "Fight for Maryland Beer."
             Chief Mad Dog` set the tone early by holding more than a dozen less prominent bouts ahead of the main attraction, hoping to rattle Fearless by making him sit and wait for hours,    
            Shortly before 5 pm, the referee (had there been one) would have announced, "All right, ladies and gentlemen, let's get ready to rumble."
       Despite the wait, Fearless came out swinging! His first shot was a one-two punch charging that the Lawmakers had botched their bill-making last year, and had failed the small craft brewers in favor of the larger traditional alcohol companies. He followed up with a left hook charging that last year's fiasco was the result of "back room deals."
      Members of the Lawmakers Boxing Team took turns in the ring.   Going first was C.T. "Wild Man" Wilson who danced around the ring for a while before taking a number of jabs at Fearless.  He hit hardest with his charge that as the Regulator of Alcohol, it was improper for Fearless to be lobbying on behalf of one segment of that industry.
         Fearless put up a strong defense by noting that he wasn't lobbying for the industry, but rather for the innocent people involved in these small businesses who had become "political pawns in a very ugly game down here" in Annapolis."
         Lawmaker, Talmadge "Boxer" Branch, hoped to flatten Franchot with a shot that would have repealed last year's bill outright.  Fearless denounced Boxer Branch's punch as a "mortal threat" to the entire industry. 
          Next, wearing a look of innocence, Battling Ben Kramer threw out a softball: "I was hoping we could have a thoughtful, rational and respectful conversation," he said. After being reminded that baseball season was over, the Lawmaker reached back and threw what could be a knockout punch, sponsoring a bill that would strip Fearless Franchot of his title of Alcohol Regulator in Chief.
            Fearless counterpunched with an uppercut to the bill's sponsors calling them "ham-handed...idiots."
          Battling Ben's partner in this effort, Warren "Mighty" Miller stepped up to remind Fearless and his team that boxing was ruled by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, and, waiting until after the bell,  said  "If the tone and tenor doesn't change, I suspect there will be a rough time," Miller said. "You guys need to straighten up your act." 
            Fearless Franchot and Battling Ben continued to bob and weave, roll with the punches, and occasionally hit below the belt. But before either boxer went down for the count, Chief Mad Dog Davis called an abrupt halt to the match, ending the bout without a knockout or even a TKO.
            After the match, Boxer Branch said that in his 24 years in Boxing, he had never seen a performance like Franchot's Friday.
            Boxing Commissioner, Michael "Speaker" Busch, was not on hand for the fight, but it is believed he had words with both fighters after the bout.
What's the Fight About?
 a Short Lesson on Alcohol Regulation 
          After prohibition, states were wary of allowing the alcohol industry to have free reign in the free market.   So Maryland created a "Three Tier System," limiting the rights of retailers, wholesalers (distributors) and manufacturers (brewers) to perform only their one function: produce, distribute, or sell.
         The strict regulatory system worked for many years, but recent changes in the marketplace began creating problems for the General Assembly.   
          Wineries.    As Marylanders began to grow their own grapes and establish small businesses making  wine, the paradigm of "separate but equal" (Big Brewers, Large Wholesalers, and Small Retailers) began to crumble.  
         The first sign was the desire among wineries to open "Tasting Rooms" where the public could come, sample the unique brands, and buy bottles of wine to take home.  These wineries refused to fit into just one of the three categories; they needed the ability to Brew and sell their product. 
         Beer Breweries.   More recently, the industry has seen the growth of local beer brewing, with issues similar to those of the wineries.  
          The small businesses need flexibility to grow, sell and serve on their own.  They don't have the produce a sufficient quantity of their produce to warrant contracting with a distributor, nor do their products have  a 'name brand' to create market demand among retailers. 
          These smaller business interests were inevitably pitted against the interests of the larger wholesalers and producers, culminating in the disastrous legislation passed last year to incentivize the international giant brewer of Guinness beer to come to Maryland.  
          If you have a desire to learn more about the industry and Maryland's approach to alcohol regulation, the Department of Legislative Services has written a 54 page booklet on the topic.  Click Here to access it.
. Comcast Newsmakers Interviews Delegate Kittleman  .
Fun Facts
Fun Facts
  • Only in Maryland are members of the Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) called judges; elsewhere, they're justices. And only in Maryland do those judges wear red robes-another throwback to the state's British roots.
  • Baltimore-based TV series The Wire is widely accepted as one of the best shows of all time. It was also a favorite of President Barack Obama's. Like most of us, the president's favorite character is charming, principled gangster Omar Little. "That's not an endorsement," Obama clarified in the Las Vegas Sun
  • An impressive 41 percent of Maryland's land is covered by forest 
  • The first-ever six-pack of beer was sold in Maryland by the National Brewing Company. That company would later become Baltimore's iconic National Bohemian, or Natty Boh, as the locals call it.
  • Maryland is home to the country's first railroad station (1830), first umbrella factory (1828), first telegraph line (1844), and first dental school (1840).
  • The first hot air balloon in the U.S. to carry a passenger launched from Baltimore on June 23, 1784. Tavern-keeper and lawyer Peter Carnes built the balloon based on French designs and sold tickets to the first launch. Carnes didn't test his creation until the big day came, at which point Carnes learned that he was just too heavy. Thirteen-year-old Edward Warren stepped up and took the ride in his place.
  • Maryland was first called the "Free State" on November 1, 1864, after slavery was abolished within its borders. Nearly 60 years later, it was again referred to as the "Free State" because it refused to participate in Prohibition, and continued to permit the use and sale of alcohol even when it was illegal in the rest of the country. 
  • The first Ouija board was invented in Baltimore in an apartment that is now a 7-Eleven.  Creator Elijah Bond and medium Helen Peters asked the "talking board" what it wanted to be called. "O-U-I-J-A," the board allegedly replied. Bond's bond with his creation was so strong that it followed him into death; there's a Ouija board engraved on the back of his tombstone.
  • Maryland's Smith Island used to be famous for one thing: the layer cake that bears its name. Smith Island Cake, which features between eight and 15 thin layers covered in thick frosting, was named the official state dessert in 2008. These days, Smith Island has a less-pleasant claim to fame: it's sinking. Scientists estimate the island's shores might be totally submerged by 2100.
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 completed 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