News from Annapolis
2018 Session:  Week  3              Delegate Trent K ittleman - District 9A
  • The Budget
  • Update on TAX changes
  • Lt. Governor: "Mundane but Meaningful" --Week 1 video.
  • My bill: Vision Testing
  • Action on Harassment
  • All for fun:  What I did in the Interim
  • Legislative Scholarship Information
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Budget Overview

This year's budget once again holds the line on spending.  Some of its major features are:
  • NO NEW TAXES or TAX INCREASES (including legislation to protect Maryland taxpayers from tax increases the new federal tax reform has caused)
  • NO cutting services, 
  • NO raiding special funds,
  • Continues - for the fourth straight year - to fund K-12 education at an all-time record level,
  • Leaves nearly $1 billion in reserves.
  • is 100 percent structurally balanced, 
  • adheres to the legislature's Spending Affordability guidelines,
          In fashioning the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, Governor Hogan has continued to deliver on the promise to grow our private sector, put more people to work, and turn our economy around.  The budget also ensures that Maryland's most vulnerable populations have access to critical health care services and other important programsand curbs the growth of legislative mandates.
Update on Tax Reform
           The governor's Protecting Maryland Taxpayers Act makes two significant changes in Maryland tax law.  His bill will:
  • make permanent a provision in Maryland law that prevents changes in the federal tax code from affecting state and local taxes, and
  • allow Marylanders to take standard deductions at the federal level while still being able to itemize state deductions.
        "This new federal legislation creates a situation where Maryland taxpayers wanting to benefit from the federal tax cuts could only do so if they choose to forgo many long-standing Maryland deductions," Hogan said.
        "Marylanders should not be forced to make that choice - our taxpayers deserve the best possible tax treatment," at both levels.
        It is unclear if the Democrat-controlled legislature will agree to give up the "windfall" increase in State revenues that will happen if no changes are made in Maryland's tax laws.  
        For more detailed information, I recommend an excellent article by    former Ambassador, Ellen Sauerbrey and Maryland Taxpayers Association President, Dee Hodges, that appeared in the Washington Times last week.  The article describes how the federal tax reform will affect Maryland and recommends bipartisan support for measures that will make Maryland taxpayers whole.         
Mundane but Meaningful:
"Regulatory Reform" in 60 seconds

My Bill: Vision Testing
A Second Chance to protect children with binary eye disorders.
         Last year, I introduced 
"HB 458 - Vision screening for binary eye disorders"  to expand the scope of vision testing in schools.  Senator Bates cross-filed the bill in the Senate.
         Currently, the school test only ascertains whether your child can see at 20-20 acuity.
        But "acuity" is not the only relevant measure.  Approximately 12% of the population has a vision impairment in which the eyes don't coordinate with each other.  The condition may be binary vision disorder or vision processing disorder, but the effect of these disorders can cause serious issues for our children.
        Senator Bates and I made a number of modifications to the bill in order to meet the concerns of various groups and legislators. The final bill had strong bi-partisan support and overwhelming support from the community.  Indeed, the Senate passed the bill unanimously in Committee and on the Floor.  
        Unfortunately, my bill got hung up in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education.  On the last day of Session, Ways and Means voted the bill out of committee -- after amending it to require only that the schools and health department come up with a pamphlet about binary vision disorder to hand out to parents.  That version never got a vote in the Senate.
        This year, we start with the streamlined version of last year's bill.  If you want to read more about this bill or see last year's hearing, click here.
Major Action on Sexual Harrassment
1.  Legislative Policies
          The Maryland General Assembly has taken action to prevent sexual harassment on two fronts
          1.      The Women's Caucus is recommending ways the Maryland General Assembly can do more to prevent sexual harassment in Annapolis and to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct that get filed against elected officials. 
          2.      At the same time, the presiding officers of the legislature  appointed a commission of lawyers, advocates and political powerhouses that will review state policy on workplace harassment and recommend changes. 
2.  Convicting Repeat Sexual Predators
         T he Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act  (HB 353) would give Maryland prosecutors the ability to introduce evidence of other sex crimes in sex offense cases involving serial offenders.
        Currently, Maryland specifically prohibits prosecutors from introducing such evidence, ruling that other sex crimes evidence is more prejudicial than probative.  
           At least 35 other states, D.C., and the federal government have the ability to introduce this evidence.   An example of the importance of this change in the law can be seen through a case out of Michigan.  
          USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, was tried in Michigan on the charge of sexually assaulting and molesting hundreds of girls and young women.  Michigan prosecutors were able to introduce testimony from women whom the doctor assaulted even though the assault happened sufficiently long ago that the statute of limitations had run out.   As a result, the jury was able to see that the defendant had engaged in a long term pattern of sexual assault.  In Michigan, Nassar was convicted and sentenced to 175 years in prison.  
          Had the trial been in Maryland, the outcome might have been much different since the jury would not have been allowed to see the predatory nature of the defendant's behavior.
         The bill is a careful balancing of the prejudicial potential with the probative value.  For example, judicial review would be required before any evidence could be presented to the jury; the defense would be given ample opportunity to argue against admission; and the law only addresses rebuttal evidence in cases in which the defendant claims an adult consented or that the child is lying. 
          Maryland is among six states without any law on the books to let rape victims terminate an attacker's parental rights when a child is conceived by rape.   This is the 10th year a bill  to bring Maryland into the fold has been introduced.  Nine times the bill has failed; sponsors believe that this is the year it will pass.  
         Designated HB-1 in the House, and SB-2 in the Senate, the bills have the support of both House  Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller who now strongly support the bill's passage.  And every member of the House Judiciary Committee has co-sponsored the bill.
        As proposed, Maryland's law would allow rape victims to ask a court to terminate parental rights, even if their attacker had never been convicted.   Instead, a woman would need to provide "clear and convincing" evidence a rape had occurred - a lower standard of proof than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold required in criminal cases. More than two dozen states have similar laws.
         Among the reasons this bill is so important is that without this option, mothers who've been raped must get the permission of the rapists before the child can be adopted.  Lawmakers have been concerned about some provisions of the previous bills.  For instance, there has been concern that the bill would have required rape victims' names to be published in a newspaper and would have allowed children conceived during rape to terminate the rights of the attacker without the rape victim's consent.  
        And there was some concern that adequate, constitutionally-required due process be accorded the attacker.  There was also debate about how to best handle cases when the victim does not know the rapist's identity.
All for Fun:  
What I did during the Interim 
Night at the Aquarium
        Every year, Legislators and their friends and family are invited to come to the Baltimore Aquarium.  
        This year, I took my youngest granddaughter - Hanna Rose -- with me, along with my Legislative Aide, Chelsea Leigh Murphy, her husband, Matt, and her brother, Josh.  Hanna found a personal tour-guide in Josh.  
        We all had a SUPER time with the dolphins, the sharks, the jellyfish, and all the other exhibits -- especially Hanna.
        Our wonderful Howard Countian, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford was there . . . Hanna doesn't seem particularly impressed about meeting the Lt. Governor . . . obviously because he had no fins.           
Judiciary Committee Picnic at my Farm
Del. Atterbeary and I hosted a picnic for our Judiciary committee this summer.  Vanessa was in charge of the food - which was delicious.  And I supplied the venue. 
A Day at the Morgue
        Del. (Dr.) Morheim, organized a trip to Maryland's state-of-the-art Forensic Medical Center.  It is  the largest free-standing medical examiner's office in the country.  
        We found an airy, bright, sterile but friendly atmosphere, where death is analyzed and documented in frank scientific detail.
Nashville, here I come!
        My vacation this year took me to Nashville, where my friends and I spent the day enjoying the rich country  music history of the city.  The next day, we boarded the American Queen Paddle boat for a Civil War  themed cruise that took us on an amazing journey through  "the havoc of war and the battle's confusion" where historic skirmishes pitted brother against brother in a nation once divided.
American Legislative Exchange Council Fall Convention
           In mid-October, Senator Gail Bates, Delegate Susan Krebs and I attended the ALEC States and Nations Policy conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  (yes, Nashville again)
           The most enjoyable and enlightening event of the convention was a panel discussion on the country's fiscal issues by four well-known business people.  I met Steve Forbes who was gracious enough to pose for a photo op.
Celebrating the Howard County Food Bank
        The Howard County Food Bank provides food to families in need, and does so in an environment that looks and feels like a supermarket.  Over 1,000 volunteers help to make this a program that works.
         Sen. Bates, Comptroller Peter Franchot and I are proud to celebrate the brand new location and to recognize Beta Dayoff's exceptional leadership as the Executive Director.  
       I had a first-hand opportunity to see the Food Bank in action when I helped to hand out turkeys and a bag of all the traditional side servings right before Thanksgiving.
         One of the fun things we legislators are invited to do is attend the high school graduation ceremonies in Howard and Carroll counties.  
          Howard holds all of their graduation ceremonies in Merriweather Post Pavillion.  It is amazing to sit there and hear of the successes these graduates have had; to listen to these seniors speak with artfulness and conviction; and to recognize the incredible diversity of our counties as each graduate walks across the stage to receive his or her diploma.
Fifth Graders "Testify" about the Constitution at Howard County's "Simulated Congressional Hearings"  (SCH) program. 
        Fifth graders in Howard County are truly privileged to be able to participate in the SCH program. 
         Toward the end of the school  year, 5th grade teachers, staff and students engage in an intensive study of the American Constitution.  The students are divided into groups of five and are responsible for preparing a four-minute presentation about an area of study such as: the ideas of the founders; how the framers wrote the Constitution; understanding checks and balances; or the rights and responsibilities of citizens.  
          On SCH day, adults from all walks of life volunteer to be "judges" to hear the presentations and engage the students in some Q&A.  I've been a judge for the last seven years, and it is one of the most gratifying activities in which I participate.
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 compleated 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