2013 Legislative Session

Annapolis Report


MORE JOBS FOR MARYLANDERS
Maryland has recovered most of the jobs lost since the Great Recession beginning in 2008, but too many of our neighbors are still unemployed or working short hours. To create jobs, $3.53 billion in new investments were approved for better roads and transit and to repair and build local schools, colleges, libraries, sewer systems, and other important projects. These will reduce traffic, improve our environment, and help our children learn — and create jobs in Maryland.

MORE TRANSIT, LESS TRAFFIC
Because of under investment in roads and transit over the past twenty years, the Washington area now has the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. The Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act passed this year will boost investment by $2.9 billion over the next six years, which
will help reduce traffic. In our area, these investments include:
  • Moving forward with rebuilding Route 1 in College Park.
  • Modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton and Gambrills.
  • Continuing development of the Purple Light Rail Line connecting the Metro Green Line with Bethesda and New Carrollton and through College Park.
  • Adding two new afternoon trips on the MARC Camden Line through Laurel, Beltsville, and College Park.
  • Expanding MARC service on the weekends on the Penn Line through Odenton.
  • Adding new bi-level passenger cars on both MARC lines, reducing overcrowding.
  • Adding new funds for road and bridge repair, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks on State roads.
LIMITING SPENDING, BALANCING THE BUDGET
Since the 2008 world financial crisis, the Governor and legislature have closed a projected $2 billion annual structural deficit in the State budget. But protecting our schools, creating jobs, and aiding those in need have remained top priorities. This year the legislature balanced the State budget, cutting proposed spending by $211 million.

PROTECTING SENIOR CITIZENS
To assist senior citizens, the legislature created a need-based program to help with the costs of
home repairs and renovations that are needed for accessibility. And to protect seniors from abuse in nursing homes and hospitals, the Assembly also took steps toward establishing a
State Abuser Registry, listing employees who have been terminated from their jobs due to abuse or neglect.

TOP PRIORITY: STATE AID FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS
Improving our local schools is the State’s top priority; that’s why it’s the largest part of the State budget. Despite the fiscal challenges created by the Great Recession, State and
local schools have been protected.  This year, $944 million in State funds will go to Prince George’s schools and $324 million will go to Anne Arundel schools.

BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS
To help curb gun violence in our State, the legislature banned assault weapons and limited the size of a magazine to 10 bullets. To keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the
mentally ill, the new law requires hand gun buyers to get a license and pass a background check.

HOLDING DOWN COLLEGE COSTS
The legislature continued to support Governor O’Malley’s policy to cap college tuition hikes at
3% for local students at the University of Maryland and other State colleges.

OCTOBER 1: NEW AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE AVAILABLE
With the new federal health care plan geared for uninsured families this fall, the legislature finalized a plan to make sure Marylanders, including small businesses, get the
most out of it. Medicaid for low income families was expanded, as was funding for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the new online marketplace for health insurance.
Uninsured Marylanders can start signing up on October 1 for more affordable health insurance through the Exchange. For information go to: www.marylandhealthconnection.gov.

BLOWING IN THE WIND
To fight climate change and provide more stable electric rates, legislation was passed to help create a market for wind energy produced in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maryland. The project is expected to create hundreds of manufacturing and construction jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

PROTECTING DOGS AND CATS
The legislature passed the Animal - Spay/Neuter Fund, which will help pet owners unable to afford spay or neuter services for their pets.  It is funded by a small fee on pet food to decrease over-crowding in animal shelters and decrease the number of dogs, cats, and other animals that have to be put to sleep.