News from Annapolis
2019 Session:          Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Week Seven
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"So go ahead and close; 
go ahead and leave!"minimumwage
Minimum Wage Bill Approved by House

          The Maryland House of Delegates voted 97-44 to approve an amended Minimum Wage Bill, in which:   
  *   T he tip credit was reinstated;
  *   T he phase-in period was extended by two years, and

  *   The automatic escalator provision was removed. 

D elegate Neil Parrott showcases his bill to giv e counties the sole a uthority to set minimum wa ges .
The hour and 30 minute debate raises issues 

       Despite the Committee amendments, Republican members of the House expressed serious concerns.  
        The increase to $15 an hour will put Maryland's minimum wage far above that of the surrounding states.  This is a particular problem for counties in the western part of the state.  In one spot, there are only 11 miles of Maryland between Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  A business can move from Maryland into one of these states without even losing its customer base.  That will become a real temptation when the minimum wage in Maryland is $15,  but just $8.25 in West Virginia and $7.25 in Pennsylvania. 

         I have thought long and hard as to why my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don' t seem to understand the realities of a singly owned small business; what concerns me even more is that they don't seem to care.
Why don't they understand?
  • The majority party empathizes with people making $15 an hour, who have to live paycheck to paycheck; but they don't understand that small businesses often live from payroll to payroll -- and when the business hasn't generated enough income to cover payroll, the Owner often pays it him/herself.
  • The majority has genuine empathy for the worker who is trying to support a family on a $15 per hour job; but they seem to have none for the 73-year old husband and wife whose toy shop has provided a nice livelihood for their family for over 50 years, who now must watch as the state puts on one demand after another, year after year, until they can no longer afford to pay even the employees they have left - employees who have been with them for many many years, until today, when there is nothing left to do but close the doors, permanently.
  • The majority willingly passes these laws believing they will help people in need; but they are tone-deaf to the harm being done to small-business people who have been put into poverty by these same laws. A remark by the Chair of the powerful Economic Matters Committee shook many of us to the core. Rising in frustration over the concerns many of us expressed for small business, the Chair told the members that he was he was tired of listening to business telling him that this bill will force them to close or to leave the State.
        "You all have got to quit saying this," he said.  "If you're going to close -- close.  If you're going to leave -- leave"
        Last term, this legislature gave millions of dollars to Northrop Grumman to keep them in Maryland. 
        Last year, we offered billions to Amazon in an effort to get them to come here. 
        We were willing to pay billions for corporate jobs, but we don't seem to care whether the jobs created by small businesses stay or go.
            Although the dire warnings from business may sound the same this year, the circumstances they are based on have changed. The financials of the business community as a whole have changed substantially from just five years ago. Take a look at the impact of the last rise in the minimum wage. It was spread over 4 years as follows:
  • $7.25 to $8.00 - a 10.3% increase  (Jan. 1, 2015)
  • $8.00 to $8.25 - a 3.1% increase  (July  1, 2015)
  • $8.25 to $8.75 - a 6% increase  (July  1, 2016)
  • $8.75 to $9.25 - a 5.7% increase  (July 1,  2017)
  • $9.75 to $10.10 - a 3.5% increase  (July 1, 2018)
          During that same time period, however, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) went up an average of only 1.8% a year.  So while the increase in prices nationwide was negligible, small businesses in Maryland had to increases prices significantly to pay for the 39.3% rise in their labor costs.    

           The full impact of these laws on different businesses is very hard to measure. But one thing I know for sure is that businesses cannot continue to absorb these increased costs and obligations forever.  Eventually, there will come a time when there will be no way to revise, rewrite, or manipulate their financials to accommodate these new costs.
            From the powerful testimony of the 44 business owners who came from all corners of the state, I fear that time is now.
Beware of the "Food Desert" fooddesert
        In last week's Newsletter, I wrote about a bill that " required the State Highway Department to design and build streets that will direct people to stores that sell healthy foods ."
        One of my very good friends accosted me and said, " Please tell me you 'embellished' that description; that there really isn't such a bill."    Sorry to disappoint, but here's what the Bill's Fiscal Note says:
        "The bill expands the complete streets policy that the State Highway Administration (SHA), the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) must adopt by 
        (1)      including routes that create access to healthy food in food deserts  in the list of "complete streets design features" that must be considered by the agencies and 
        (2)     requiring a complete streets policy to create access to healthy food for individuals without personal vehicles living in food deserts."

        Shucks!  Just realized my article last week failed to mention    "food deserts" . . .  
Gun Day Sparks Fiery Testimony GunDay
      Monday a week ago was "Gun Day." This is the day when the Judiciary Committee hears all of the bills affecting the 2 nd  amendment. 
        To give you some idea of the fervor that still swirls around this issue, the Committee began the hearing at 10 am and finished at 4 a.m. the following morning. We believe the 17 ½ hour hearing set a new record.  On the agenda were 12 gun control bills and 7 bills to protect 2nd amendment rights
        I stopped by and watched about an hour of the hearing.  During that time, I heard testimony on HB 236 " The Repeat Firearms Offender Act of 2019."   This bill would provide longer mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders using firearms in violent crimes.
        The witnesses in favor of the bill expressed my very thoughts  . . . but perhaps with a bit more . . . flair, shall we say?
          Right out of the starting gate, this witness vented his frustration in no uncertain terms:

          "O riginally I, too, was going to utter those fateful two words the chairman so loves to hear ["Me too"] but instead, I have to ask, "Are you out of your ever-loving, freakin' minds? 
Debating whether or not this is a bad idea?
           "For the last ten hours, you've been hammering us, the law-abiding, on our constitutional rights - trying to infringe on them further. And then you just spent almost a half hour debating whether or not it's a good idea to put violent, repeat --and I'm going to repeat that word -- REPEAT -- offenders in jail for longer terms and make it mandatory? Really? Are you out of your freakin' ever-loving minds?  Especially those of you that are lawyers. Holy crap! It's like dealing with a bunch of freakin' kindergarteners. You all need a freakin' time out !
           "You all talk about 'for the children' and yet some of the folks who were innocent in Baltimore were killed by these bozos. And you want to let them back out? Really? Excuse me for being incredulous and pissed off, because I am. I'm this far from losing my cool. I haven't yet because I haven't sworn. I'm not going to. With that, before I get thrown out by the chairman, I would encourage everybody here to come back to some modicum of common sense and support this bill."
C-PAC Honors Maryland & Virginia LegislatorsCPAC
C-PAC Chairman, Matt Schlapp presented the certificates.
Celebrating at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor
        Each year, the American Conservative Union (ACU) grades all state legislators on their voting record, and honors those who vote at least an 80% in accordance with the (conservative) bills ACU selects. 
       Maryland and Virginia  legislative honorees receive an extra benefit by virtue of our proximity to the ACU headquarters Washington D.C.
        C-PAC, the political arm of the ACU, holds its annual convention at National Harbor.  Maryland and Virginia honorees are invited to attend the final day of the 4-day convention and  be presented with their Certificates.  
           Maryland generally has a strong turn-out.  This year, the  legislators who attended from left to right are,  Mike McKay, Bill Wivell, Bob Long, Me, Jeff Ghrist, Deb Rey, Matt Morgan, Jay Jacobs, Neil Parrott, and Chris Adams (next to Matt Schlapp).  The awards are for the 2018 voting Session so we all enjoyed sharing the day with Deb Rey.
        This year, we were treated to an extra bonus.  C-PAC always has the top Republicans and Conservatives speaking at this event, and the last day always features the top draw.  This year, it was our President, Donald J. Trump!  
Sanctuary Bills Updatesanctuary
          On March 5, three sanctuary bills will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee:

HB 913   Correctional Facilities and Police Office -- Procedures -- Immigration Status.
HB 1165  State Government -- Government Agents -- Requests for and Use of Immigration Status Information
HB 1273  Immigration Enforcement -- County Boards of Education, Public Institutions of Higher Education, and Hospitals -- Policies

        The hearing will start at 1:00 p.m.  If you want to submit written testimony, it is due to the committee room by 12:00 noon on the hearing date.  
        If you are interested in testifying, please call our office and speak with Chelsea Murphy, my legislative aide, at 410-841-3556. She will be happy to help you.
District NewsDistricts
Carroll and Howard Counties
Information on the
Bond Initiatives Hearings
Saturday, March 9 -- 9:00 am
Monday, March 11 -- 9:00 am
Joint Hearing Room

          Here is the process that will be followed for the Legislative Bond Initiative (LBI) Hearings.
  • All cross-filed LBIs will be heard by the both the Senate Budget and Taxation and the House Appropriations Committees, jointly, on Saturday, March 1.
  • Any non-cross-filed LBIs will be heard separately in the Senate and House
  • Written testimony is discouraged
  • Testimony must take no more than two minutes
  • Delegate and Senate Sponsors will sit at the witness table for their bill
  • The Project Representative will sit in the row of chairs placed directly behind the witness table.
  • Sponsors will introduce the project and its representative
  • Project representatives will stand and testify
  • A wireless microphone will be provided
If you have any questions regarding the Legislative Bond Initiative Hearings, your best resource is  Cherie Warehime (410-841-3407).   As always, please feel free to call my office (410-841-3556)
Delegate Trent M. Kittleman ScholarshipScholarship
College students 
and college-bound seniors (and/or parents thereof) 
If you live in Legislative District 9-A 
( western Howard County and southern Carroll County)    
I Invite you to apply for one of my legislative scholarships.
District 9-A Residents:        
          Current high school seniors and full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students, graduate students and students attending a private career school may apply.
For questions regardi ng the a pplication process, please call my Annapolis office and ask to speak with Chelsea Leigh Murphy at 410-841-3556.
Please be sure to have your completed application postmarked by April 5, 2019.
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  *   [email protected]
Interim Office
3000 Kittleman Lane,  West Friendship, MD 21794
301-661-3344  *   [email protected]
Administrative AideChelsea Leigh Murphy