2016 Session: Week 1                           Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
News from Annapolis

Highlights of Week 1

For the residents of District 9A, Week One produced some long-awaited and very exciting news.  Governor Hogan and Secretary of Transportation, Pete Rahn held a press conference on the afternoon of Thursday, January 14, announcing the widening of a nine-mile stretch of Route 32 from Route 108, north to Route 26.

The $152 million project includes a plan to widen MD 32 from MD 108 to I-70 and to conduct a study of continued improvements into Carroll County. The plans consists of three phases:
  • Phase I is expected to begin in summer 2016 and includes widening the highway from MD 108 to Linden Church Road for a total cost of $33 million which will be provided jointly by the state and Howard County with each providing $16.5 million;
  • Phase II entails the widening of the highway from Linden Church Road to I-70 and is expected to launch in 2019, along with the replacement of the structurally deficient bridge that carries Triadelphia Road over MD 32, which is expected to cost an added $6 million;
  • Phase III began in fall 2016 and consists of a detailed planning study of what is needed to widen MD 32 in Carroll County, and there is a similar project studying intersection improvements near the Armory in Sykesville. 
At the press conference Governor Hogan said, "Our administration has made it very clear that building, maintaining, and fixing Maryland's roads and bridges is our top transportation priority.  This long-overdue funding to reduce congestion and improve safety along MD 32 is just one more way that we are changing Maryland for the better."  

Bills of Interest . . . or Interesting Bills
Just under 100 bills have been officially filed in the House of Delegates thus far this year.  A majority of them won't survive, but here's a look at some of the more interesting bills some of your legislators want to add to the laws of Maryland:

HB 1       With all of the substantive issues facing the State, as well as the country, it's telling that the very first bill filed in Maryland this year (by two Montgomery County delegates) is to prohibit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration from authorizing the display of the Confederate battle flag on license plates.

HB 10     Another bill prompted by the unpopular actions of Governor O'Malley is a bill to direct that Program Open Space funds be used only by and for the Depertment of Natural Resources.

HB 16     Baltimore County Delegate Ric Metzgar has filed a bill that would protect certain individuals and entities from being required to perform certain religious ceremonies, if such ceremonies violate the basic religious beliefs of that individual or entity.  

HB 23     The first bill my husband, Bob Kittleman, filed as a Delegate was to repeal the "prevailing wage" law.  It is now 34 years later, and we are still trying to make a dent in this very expensive legislation.  This year, Delegate Tony McConkey has filed a bill to waive the prevailing wage law if it will increase the cost of constructing a school by 10% or more.  

HB 27     This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to community college employees.

HB 33     Delegate Arentz is hoping to pass this bill that would decrease taxes for retirees who are disabled.

HB 35     In a bill that I am particularly fond of, the Maryland Transportation Authority would be required to make the Chesapeake Bay Bridge "all E-ZPass" by 2026.  This is not only an excellent way to relieve congestion, but would allow pricing to vary during the summer months as a way to even out the flow of traffic.

HB 81     This bill would allow cameras to record in the courtrooms of Maryland.

(Note: I have paraphrased the topic of these bills.  If you are interested in any of them, please be sure to go to the full text of the bill to determine exactly what it says and how it would work.)

The Governor's Tax Cut Agenda
Governor Hogan has proposed a package of  two "common sense" tax cuts bills that will grant tax breaks to small businesses, increase exemptions for retirees dramatically, incentivize businesses to come to Maryland, with a 10-year tax break, reduce a dozen more fees, and speed up a planned tax refund for poor families.

At the news conference where he unveiled his plans, Governor Hogan said, "Anyone that isn't in favor of that, probably doesn't deserve to be in the legislature . . . I can't imagine how anybody could vote against these," according to an article in the Jan. 12
Baltimore Sun by Erin Cox:  "   MD Governor Larry Hogan tax relief targets poor families, new manufacturing."   According to the same article, Democrats are inclined to support the measures.

Another provision of the Governor's tax relief bills would reduce the $300 filing fee for the personal property tax report that businesses must file annually, by $50 a year for four years, down to $100.  In case reducing "fees" doesn't seem that significant relative to reducing taxes, small businesses currently pay about $7.6 million state-wide in personal property tax -- but almost $70 million in filing fees.
Fun Highlights from Last Session
The "Cat in the Hat" visited the General Assembly last year to promote an excellent reading program.  Legislators found Mr. Hat to be one of the more interesting speakers of the year . . . . .He could not, of course, talk.

The Judiciary Committee, which has the reputation for listening to anyone who wants to testify, even allowed "Fido" to present his concerns.  I can't recall the bill, but I have no doubt we were all mightily impressed with his testimony.
Fun Highlights from The Interim
I'm pictured here in my full firefighter gear, with my REAL firefighter partner for the day.
One of the most informative (and fun) opportunities I had during the Interim was to spend a whole day training as a firefighter.  The Howard County Firefighters invited all of our elected officials to participate in the  rigorous  adventure, and most of us took advantage of the offer.  We got to use the "jaws of life" equipment to cut up an old car, fight a car fire, participate in a paramedic scenario, and finally, to crawl into a burning building lugging the (very heavy) fire hoses, and put out the fire.  I must confess, I opted out of the last scenario -- but my legislative aide, Chelsea Leigh Murphy, made it through all four scenarios.
Most importantly, we learned a great deal about firefighting and our hands-on experiences will make our legislative decision-making that much better.  Thank you, Howard County Firefighters!
Senator Gail Bates, Delegate Vanessa Atterbury and me , at one of our local elementary schools
Every year, Senator Gail Bates and I, along with many other elected officials and volunteers, participate as Judges for the Simulated Congressional Hearings ("SCH") program in Howard County.  This program offers all 5th graders the opportunity to spend two weeks studying the U.S. Constitution and preparing a 5-minute presentation to present to the judges on SCH day.  A panel of 5-6 5th graders pretend to be "testifying" before a Congressional Committee.  We "Judges" are in the role of the Committee Members.  After the presentation, we asked questions, and then offer our comments on the performance of the panel.  Inevitably, the kids are GREAT!
General Information
Preview - next week's Newsletter:
  • Information about the Legislative Scholarship Program, and how to apply.
  • Information about the General Assembly schedule, how to find out when bills will have hearings
  • How to testify on a bill
If you have any questions at all, please call, email, write, or visit us!    And a ny time you plan to come to Annapolis, please stop by and say hi!  If I'm not in my office, Chelsea Leigh will know where to find me.  There is nothing I enjoy more than talking to my constituents in person.
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  *  trentkittleman@verizon.net
Administrative Ai de:  Chelsea Leigh Murphy