News from Annapolis
2016 Session: Week 7        Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
Mid-Session Summary  -- 
how are we doing?
We are now halfway through the Legislature's 90-day Session. This week, we're taking a look to see how we're doing.

The Governor -- How's he doing  with the Legislature?

The Legislature   --   Are we going in the right direction?
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The Governor
How's he doing with the Legislature?
The Governor -- How's He Doing with the Legislature?
It's clear the people Love the Guv.  Poll after poll shows his sky-high popularity.  It isn't easy dealing with a Democratic legislature that still has a big enough majority to override his vetos -- which they did.  His success started last year when he lowered numerous fees and began regulatory reform through his powers in the Executive branch.   This year, he is asking the legislature to approve tax credits, income tax exemptions for elderly individuals, and an omnibus fee, surcharge and tax reduction act.  It will be interesting to see if the Democratically controlled legislature will go along with the program that swept Governor Hogan into office.  As an article in the said, the governor has "shown real skill in using his platform as governor."  ( , ,Feb. 23, "Why Hogan is so popular.")
  In dealing with the Legislature, he has expressed a consistently positive, bipartisan message that hasn't always been returned.  The fact that the legislature chose to override every one of the Governor's vetoes rather than working with him to find any compromise (despite areas of clear agreement in policy) caused the Washington Post editorial board to publish an article entitled, "Maryland Democrats have Hogan Derangement Syndrome," Feb. 23.  In the article, they stated,  "what has been striking since he took office is . . . the disproportionate attacks by Democrats on a governor whose record so far qualifies him as a moderate." 
Governor and Cabinet receive praise from Democrats
Governor Hogan and his cabinet members are being praised by individual Democratic legislators.  Testifying before the Judiciary Committee this week, one Democratic Legislator commented on the fact that Governor Hogan has gone out of his way to ensure diversity in the appointment of judges, even noting that the Governor sent one list of recommendations back to the County that submitted them because there was no diversity among the candidates.  The day before, in a hearing on "Restrictive Housing" the Secretary of the Department of Corrections was praised for the efforts he has already undertaken to reform the dysfunctional correctional system, including a focus on Maryland's blatant overuse of solitary confinement.
The Legislature:
Are we going in the right direction?
Transportation:  the Wrong Direction
Bills severely restrict executive branch functions
HB 1013: 
Legislative "point system" to set transportation project selection heavily favors transit projects over roads.  
(Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 1)

One of Governor Hogan's first acts in office was to declare the multi-billion dollar Baltimore "Red Line" light rail transit project, dead.  This angered the Democratic legislators (who are thralls of the needs of Baltimore City).  Twenty-three Democrats,  including the Speaker, introduced HB1013 , the so-called "Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016."  As discussed in Newsletter 5, this bill would remove the decision-making for what transportation projects should be built away from the Department of Transportation, and the local governments, and replace it with a complex and silly point system that gives every preference to transit projects rather than roads.

To understand the significance of the "roads v. transit" battle for Transportation Trust Funds, you only need to understand the three simple facts shown below.  :
Revenue Comparison
Gas tax, vehicle registration fees, drivers license fees, and emissions fees supply  the revenue shown in the blue bars.
Transit fees, including buses, light rail, and metro rail, produce the revenue shown in the red bars.   

By law, transit is required to produce revenue equal to 35% of its operating costs.  It doesn't; it has NEVER come close.

Expense Comparison

Despite the fact that drivers  pay
most of the money used for transpor-tation ( see above),
transit  spends most of it (red bars).

Roads v. Transit

Roads carry almost 90% of us to work.

Transit, including buses, light rail, metrorail, commuter rail, commuter buses and local transit, are used by less than 10% of us. 
The data shown here is several years old, but it doesn't matter.  The 90% drive v. 10%  transit balance has held for many, many years.   And this doesn't take into account that buses -- a significant portion of transit's 10% -- require roads.

There is a vital need for transit where it works -- but it is not to replace cars.  Until transit can transport us in the same or less TIME, it will not be a viable option for more than this 10%..
Additional Examples
HB 1338: Mandates spending $100,000,000 on Rail   (Hearing scheduled for 3/10)
HB 1562: Requires the completion of a specific transportation project (Watkins Mill Road Interchange), specifies the requirements and mandates the  amount of spending.   (No hearing scheduled yet)
HB 891: Eliminates the need for transit revenues to cover at least 35% of the operating expenses.   (Hearing scheduled for 3/1)
Drunk Driving:  HB 1342 "Noah's Law" 
-- the Right Direction
Ignition Interlock
    Ignition interlocks require a driver to blow into a breathalyzer before the engine will start.  Currently, these devices are only rquired for repeat offenders or first-time offenders who register above a .15 blood alcohol level (BAC).  This bill would change that.  Under Noah's Law, first time offenders who register at a lower BAC would be required to use an ignition interlock as well.  
    It's clear that warnings, fines and even suspending the driver's license do not stop people from driving while drunk.  The ignition interlock does.  (Heard in Judiciary this past week)
Keeping Maryland Open for Business 
-- the Wrong Direction

While Governor Hogan is working to reduce the stranglehold of regulations that prevent businesses from coming to Maryland staying in Maryland, being created in Maryland, growing larger in Maryland, and surviving in Maryland, the Legislature is proposing bil after bill designed to do just the opposite.  Below are some of the most damaging proposals.
HB 1175:  Regulates when and how work schedules between private employers and employees can be made and modified. (Hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 9)

HB 580:  Regulates what private employers must provide to employees with respect to sick leave, and mandates implementation of paid sick leave for employers with more than nine employees (Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 1)

HB 343:  Before a business with 40 or more employees can be awarded a contract (of $500,000 or more), it must provide massive amounts of information proving not only that it is in compliance with all existing equal pay laws, but that it adheres to additional criteria set forth in the new law.   [Note that this law would NOT apply to state government entities.]   ( Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 1)
Fiscal Responsibility -- the Wrong Direction
HB 721:  Dramatic Expansion of the "Prevailing Wage" law
  • Redefines prevailing wage to be the actual wage rates and fringe benefits in the relevant Union contract in the locality.
  • Expands what constitutes a public body and a public work project.
  • Reduces the size of the contract that will be subject to Prevailing Wages from $500,000 to $25,000 -- so that every small public works construction contractor will now be required to pay prevailing [union] wages.
  • The prevailing wage rate is to be recalculated every year, and applied to every existing contract!
  • Currently, an aggrieved employee can file a complaint with the Commissioner of Labor; HB 721 gives the employee the right to sue.
  • Overtime is redefined from 10 hours per day (common in the construction industry) to eight hours per day.
  • All penalties are raised from 2,000% ($10 to $500) to 5,000% ($20 to $1,000).
  • The option of the court to assess double or treble damages for willful or reckless disregard of the law is now mandatory rather than optional.
Prevailing Wage Primer
        The "Prevailing wage" law requires private construction firms who contract with the state to build certain public projects -- including schools -- to pay their employees the "prevailing wage."  Currently, the "prevailing wage" is defined as "the hourly rate of wages paid in the locality" for the specific job function. 
        In practical terms, the prevailing wages are generally the same as "union wages." Studies have consistently shown that this law adds 25% to the cost of a project.  
District 9A News
Howard County
In an emotional meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10, the Howard County Delegation discussed and then passed the second of two bills dealing with the controversy surrounding the County School Superintendent, Renee Foose.  Parents have expressed increasing unhappiness with their inability to get information from the school system -- information that should, they believe, be available under the Public Information Act.  Repeated reports of being ignored, being told documents don't exist, or receiving documents so redacted as to be meaningless caused Delegate Warren Miller to draft a bill last November attempting to provide more assurance that the school board would respond appropriately to PIA requests. 

The delegation had discussed the bill several weeks in a row, but postponed the vote in an effort to allow for amendments to address some of their concerns. Delegate Bob Flanagan proposed an amendment to refocus the bill to require the newly minted State Public Access Ombudsman to "investigate the integrity of county school officials' denials of public information requests from July 1, 2012 -- when Foose became superintendent -- through December 31, 2015."  ("Howard delegates unite around public criticism of county school system,", by Lisa Philip, February 10, 2016.) 
The local bill passed unanimously. After the vote, members of the delegation asked  the two members of the School Board who were in attendance about constituent reports that they had been turned away from the last meeting in which the School Board voted on renewing Superintendent Foose's contract.  The conversation left the delegation members even more frustrated with the seeming inability of the School Board and the Superintendent to be sensitive to the rights of the community.   
This past week Governor Hogan announce that MedStar Health will bring 72 jobs from the company's other office in the region to its new headquarters in Howard County.  The new headquarters is currently under construction and scheduled to open later this year.  With this move, MedStar will employ 222 full-time employees in Howard County and 1,266 employees statewide.  
Carroll County
The Carroll County Delegation met on Friday, Feb. 26 to continue work on local bills.  The delegation voted on the bill presented by Delegate Haven Shoemaker to impose term limits on the Carroll County Board of education.  Comments from the hearing that had been held in Westminster on Feb.6 were generally favorable.  However a spokesman on behalf of the Board of Education expressed the Board's opposition.  The bill passed the Delegation without objection (with one abstention), and will now face a hearing in  Ways and Means On March 15. 

The bill also contains a unique feature in that it will automatically go to referendum.  The delegation felt that.for an issue of this nature and importance, the people should have a voice in the decision. the measure, if passed, will probably be on the ballot this November.

Free CPR Classes
The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services is offering FREE CPR classes.  
Each class reviews adult, child, and infant CPR, AED use, and choking relief. Training is appropriate for all ages so bring the whole family. (Please note that this is a non-certification class.)
Sign up now by calling 410-313-2016, email
Create Date Ideas in Carroll County 
Even though Valentine's Day was last week there are many creative date ideas in Carroll County that would be fun year around-  
County Fair Dates
The Howard County Fair will be held August 6-13 and 
The Carroll County Fair will be held August 1st-8th. 
For more information:
Notice of SHA Intersesction Improvements - MD 97 & Burntwoods Road
The Maryland State Highway Administration will be doing intersection improvements in order to increase capacity and enhance safety at the intersection of MD 97 and Burntwoods Road in Glenwood.   The improvements will include: extending the existing acceleration and deceleration lanes on MD 97; constructing improvements to existing storm water management facilities, signage, lighting and utility systems.  If you have any questions concerning this project, Please call Reggie Graves, with the SHA, at 410-545-8012.  
Scholarship Information
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. 
For questions regarding the application 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 10, 2016.

Click here  to download the scholarship application for the 2016-2017 academic year. 
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 Ai de:  Chelsea Leigh Murphy