News from Annapolis
2018 Session:  Week   9            Delegate Trent K ittleman - District 9A
Delegate Trent Kittleman
  • Right-to-Work May be Close!
  • Girl seats & Boy seats???
  • Updates and Bills of Interest
    • Ban on Youth contact sports defeated
    • Struggling Pension Fund now required to consider "Climate Change" companies before investing
    • Release of Tax Returns required for Presidential candidates to get on Maryland Ballot
  • From our constituents: A daughter's perspective on Sanctuary States
  • Scholarship Information: Deadline to submit an application is April 9 
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Maryland may become a
 Right-to-Work State
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Janus v. AFSCME.

          In Maryland, public employees are not forced to join a Union, but are required to pay a fairly significant "fair share" fee to "cover the cost of collective bargaining."  
          The rationale for allowing the unions to charge non-members such a fee is that it is "unfair" to have some non-union members of the workforce paying nothing, yet getting all the benefits the union negotiates for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
          Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Janus v. AFSCME .   This case is a direct challenge to a state's right to require non-union public employees to pay a fair share of the costs of collective bargaining.   
        According to an article in the March 9th Maryland Public Policy Institute's legislative dispatch, "many experts think unions will lose." The opinion is based both on the current make-up of the Court as well as the recent four-to-four vote on a similar case decided before the newest Justice was sworn in.
          If the experts are right, and the Court rules against the union, at least 22 states, including Maryland, will become right-to-work states, and employees currently paying the fair share fee will no longer have to.
Unions hope to counter effect of a right-to-work decision with a "captive audience" bill 
          Even before the Supreme Court's decision on the Janus case is known, The National Education Association is furnishing the state teachers associations with an eight-point plan for strengthening the union and replacing the Fair Share contributions they would no longer be collecting.
          Chief among these is to get legislatures to pass a "captive audience" bill.  In Maryland, HB 811/SB 819 is such a bill.
          This bill requires public school employers to provide a specified union representative with access to "new employee processing," giving the union the ability to convey information about the union as part of the official orientation. 
          In addition, this bill requires the school to provide the union with specific --and potentially confidential -- information about each new public school employee as follows:
(1)  NAME;
          Schools must also provide this information on each employee in the bargaining unit at least once every 120 days.
          HB 811 has already been voted out of the Ways and Means Committee and is headed to the floor for a vote.  SB 819 is scheduled to be heard on March 13.
"Girl" seate & "Boy" seats?
'Girl' seats and 'boy' seats?
          As we go further and further down the rabbit hole, Democrats continue to lead the way.  New rules in place for the upcoming June 26th primary will find Democrats in 17 Maryland counties voting separately for men and women for Central Committee positions.  This means that each Democrat Central Committee must have an equal number of men and women.
          Now, that might make sense if Maryland Democrats have been experiencing a declining number of women running for office.  But no.  The number of Democrat women running for county and state positions increased by 44% over the last Gubernatorial election in 2014 --  from 378 to 545 women.
          Indeed, the number of women running for the State Senate doubled, and the number of women running for the House of Delegates increased nearly 60% over 2014.
          I wonder if they realize that this rule could very easily disadvantage women?  When I was on the Howard County Republican Central Committee, there were six women and three men; that couldn't happen under the Democrat's new rule.   
          Ah, well.  Republicans are just more progressive I guess.
Updates and Bills of Interest
HB 933:
Maryland Pension Climate Change Risk Act
Could this be Maryland's Future?
          It's a pretty picture -- but a scary possibility. Do we really want to use our state's underfunded and under-performing pension system to promote climate change - or any other political cause?  Legislators should be focusing on maximizing the Fund's return on investment, to ensure that there will be adequate funds to provide pensions to state retirees.

Maryland's Underperforming Pension System
          Maryland's Pension Fund returns are among the lowest in the Nation.  Last year, we had a 10.02% rate of return; the Standard & Poor 500 returned a bullish 14%.
           Over the past 10 years, the returns fell into the bottom 10% of the fund's peer group of other state pensions system.
           "The primary reason for Maryland's pension funding shortfall is that the fund consistently under-performs its investment target," the Maryland Public Policy Institute said in a press release.

Requirements of the Bill?
          Although the Bill's sponsor claims it doesn't require the Pension system to actually invest in 'green' companies, it is hard to believe that legislators are promoting this bill just to have the pension fund do studies.  What are these studies for if not to justify directing such investments?
          Sponsors also point to the provision in the bill that 'protects' the integrity of the Fund where it says the Pension Fund Board of Trustees may not take any action unless it is "consistent with the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board."
          Nonetheless, I fear that this bill will pass.
HB 662:
Requires Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns to be on the Ballot
          In yet another Trump-inspired reaction, legislators have filed a bill in both chambers to prohibit a person from appearing on the general election ballot for President or Vice-President unless he or she has filed at least the last five years of income tax returns with the Maryland Board of Elections.
          Even if you believe candidates should make their tax filings known, it's a bad precedent for one state to impose additional requirements on Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidates.  Maryland liberals like to point to California as the leader in progressive legislation; so I feel free to point to California when the state rejects such a bill.  In this case, the Governor of California, Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill with the following statement:
          "I worry about the political perils of individual states seeking to regulate presidential elections in this manner.  First, it may not be constitutional.  Second, it sets a 'slippery slope' precedent.  Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?  Five years of health records?  A certified birth certificate?  High school report cards?  And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?
          "A qualified candidate's ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system.  For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates."
Couldn't have said it better myself!
HB 1210:
Youth Contact Sports Prohibition
           HB 1210 would have barred elementary and middle school children from playing 'contact sports.'  I am please to report that HB 1210 was voted "unfavorable" in the Ways & Means Committee, and therefore has no chance of passing this year.  Thanks to each of you who took the time to respond to my poll on this issue.
          There are other ways in other bills to protect children from serious head injuries without limiting our kids' opportunity to participate in sports. 
The Emperor's New Clothes
A child's view of  "Sanctuary States"  
          I found this email from a constituent honest, heartfelt, and moving.  I hope you will, too.
          I'm a Christian and a Chinese American.  I understand that the strength of the United States comes from its checks and balances in its political system and the great respect to law and order, shown by ordinary citizens.  That is the America that I know and of which I'm so proud. 
          When I first heard about sanctuary bill last year, I was confused and sad at the same time because it genuinely touched my heart and challenged my thoughts and beliefs that I'm a Christian with great compassion and love for all. 
          I was afraid that my view might be biased so I talked to my daughter, who was eleven years old . . . I asked for her opinion on sanctuary policy and she wrote an essay longer than my speech. 
         [S]he wrote that undocumented immigrants "should be treated as legal immigrants are: fairly but not preferentially. Converting a State to a 'Sanctuary State' undermines the law. NOBODY should be above the law.  [Calling for]  a 'Sanctuary State' would be like promoting the breaking of laws. It sends a wrong message: that people don't have to obey the law!" 
The Emperor's New Clothes       
           I love this story ... which I learned in my English textbook in China. . . . A child's innocence is greater than an adult's courage to tell a simple truth. 
          I hope you are brave to tell the truth. I agree that we should look for methods to solve the immigration crisis in a humanitarian way. However this bill will not do anything but create more serious problems. 
         Please vote "No" to HB1461.   Thank you.
 Hard-to-Believe Fun Facts 
  • In 1774, colonial Americans had the highest standard of living on earth with an average annual income of £13.85, compared to Britain's £10.12.
  • The average tax rate in colonial America was between 1% and 1.5%
  • Alexander Hamilton executed the first financial bailout in US history in 1791.
  • One of the principal problems confronting the nation during President Benjamin Harrison's time was the federal government's collection of an excess revenue often far beyond current expenditures. . .
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