April 10, 2018

Dear Constituent of 35 B:

The 438th Session of the Maryland General Assembly began on Wednesday, January 10 and ended Sine Die, April 9 at midnight as prescribed by law.

For the farmers in our State, I sponsored HB 646-Motor Vehicles – Gross Vehicle Weight – Agricultural Products which establishes a 5% gross vehicle weight limit tolerance for vehicles carrying agricultural products during harvest time within 100 miles of the harvested field. After three years of negotiating with the farmers of Maryland, the State Highway Administration, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders, the bill was finally passed by both Houses of the General Assembly and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.

I also sponsored HB 1660- Property Tax – Assessment Records of Real Property and Reassessment After Appeal which reiterates that property tax reductions must be recorded on the appraisal worksheets and pending appeals will be grandfathered. It prohibits SDAT, when conducting a real property reassessment after an appeal, from automatically eliminating a reduction in an assessment of the property that was granted by a Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board or the Maryland Tax Court. It is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Thank you to all of you who came to Annapolis to testify on the legislation and gave me your advice and input over the last four years.

In addition, I worked with my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to pass SB 1265 -Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018 which requires each school system to develop a school emergency plan and to complete safety assessments annually. The school’s plans must include a detailed plan for addressing behavioral threats and emergency events. Each school must have at least one threat assessment team to provide guidance to students, faculty and staff on recognizing threatening or aberrant behavior. Members of the school community to whom threatening behavior should be reported must be identified. Each local school system must employ a security administrator who is certified by the Maryland Center for School Safety. A Safe Schools Fund will be established to provide grants to local school systems to implement these emergency plans and to install other safety improvements.

Over $30 million in new State funding is in the FY 2019 Budget to promote safety in Maryland’s schools. This money can be used for school resource officers, counselors and additional technology to protect our most valuable resource…our children. I believe that the increase in resources will help address the widespread problem of school safety .

HB 291/SB 1137 – Criminal Law – Prohibitions, Prosecutions, and Corrections includes Governor Hogan’s initiative making it easier to prosecute high-volume drug deals. The bill also adds fentanyl to the volume dealer law. The legislation also increases the penalties for witness intimidation from 5 years to 10 years. SB 101 – Crimes of Violence, Expungement, & Drug Treatment (sponsored by Senator Wayne Norman) now includes Governor Hogan’s initiative to eliminate parole eligibility for second-time violent offenders. The legislation also toughens sentences on the sexual abuse of a minor, and adds drug trafficking to the list of crimes that a person may not possess a firearm without a 5 year mandatory sentence. I voted for both these bills and they are awaiting the Governor’s signature.

An important bill that I cosponsored, HB 301- Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2018, was signed by the Governor as soon as it passed both houses of the General Assembly early in the Session. This new law, which is effective July 1, 2018 authorizes a court to admit into evidence acts of “sexually assaultive behavior” committed by a defendant before or after the offense for which the defendant is currently being tried.

In the FY 2019 Budget, $39 million is dedicated to the opioid crisis through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which is aiding in battling the epidemic, through addiction counseling and law enforcement efforts to battle drug trafficking. I also proposed specific legislation (HB 649- Criminal Law – Opioids – Distribution Causing Death of Minor) that fights this epidemic through heavier penalties imposed on selling, distributing, or providing heroin and/or fentanyl to minors.

I also cosponsored legislation (HB 58-Income Tax-Subtraction Modification-Retirement Income) that includes a pension income exclusion that will expand and allow income from IRAs and annuities to be included within the subtraction modification on tax returns. Another law (HB 296-Income Tax-Subtraction Modification-Retirement Income of Correctional Officers) extends a subtraction modification for retired correctional officers in addition to retired law enforcement, fire, rescue and emergency services personnel. Another bill that I cosponsored was HB 327-Income Tax-Subtraction Modification-Military Retirement Income which exempts $15,000 of military retirement income from State Taxation for retirees 55 or older. Another tax relief bill was SB 134 – Small Business Relief Tax Credit which gives an income tax credit to small businesses that provide paid sick leave to their employees. This is the Governor’s initiative to help ease the burden the paid sick leave bill will have on small businesses. It applies to businesses with fewer than 15 employees. HB 70/SB 318 – Income Tax – Standard Deduction – Cost-of-Living Adjustments –permanently raises the standard deduction and indexes it to inflation. This will save taxpayers up to $55.6 million in Fiscal 2019. These bills all passed out of the Ways and Means Committee and await the signature of the Governor.

In his FY 2019 budget, Governor Hogan provided historic levels of funding for K-12 education – an unprecedented $6.5 billion, which is above and beyond the spending formulas required by the legislature. Under Governor Hogan, K-12 education funding has increased by more than 7% since he took office, and average per-pupil aid across the state has increased by more than 4.7%. The 2019 budget also included $30 million for critical school safety improvements and initiatives.

It is important that we ensure the casino revenue is used in the way that voters were told it would be. I supported the proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the voters at the next general election, which requires the Governor to provide supplemental State funding for public education through the use of commercial gaming revenues that are dedicated to public education in the State budget beginning in fiscal 2020. Supplemental funding must total $125.0 million in fiscal 2020, $250.0 2021, and $375.0 million in fiscal 2022. In all subsequent years, 100% of the gaming revenues dedicated to public education must be used for supplemental funding. Beginning in fiscal 2020, the Governor must identify in the annual State budget how the supplemental revenue is being used to supplement and not supplant spending on public schools.

While I supported the FY 2019 Operating Budget, I did not support the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act also known as the BRFA. Right now, over 70% of the State Budget is mandatory spending. Common sense solutions must prevail. We need to meet the needs of individuals and organizations in Maryland, but excess funding from the federal government should be returned to the people who earned it in the first place. Working with Governor Hogan, the conservatively balanced FY 2019 Operating Budget promotes stability and growth in our State. I chose not to support the BRFA, but to gladly support the Governor’s budget for the upcoming year, and will continue to work towards a stable and thriving State.

I appreciate the bi-partisan efforts through legislation to give back to the taxpayers what they deserve. But, I do not feel that the passed legislation goes far enough to return the projected windfall back to the taxpayers; we will wait to see what the FY 2020 Budget and legislation does to give the citizens of Maryland their due refunds.

It has been a pleasure to hear from you during the 2018 Session and I have listened to your concerns and opinions before voting. For the last four years, I have tried to do what is best for the citizens of Cecil and Harford Counties and the State of Maryland.

The representatives of District 35 ( Delegates Cassilly, Hornberger, Reilly, and Senator Linda Norman) have enjoyed working with the Hogan Administration to bring to fruition the promises that the Governor has made to the people of Maryland. We hope to fulfill more of those promises to small businesses and those people who live in Maryland in the coming sessions.

If you have any questions or concerns during the Interim, please do not hesitate to contact me at Teresa.reilly@house.state.md.us or at 410-841-3278. The Annapolis Office will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9-4 if you wish to pay a visit.

Sincerely,

Teresa Reilly


Category: News, Press Release

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