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2015 Annapolis Report

Report on 2015 Maryland Legislative Session

During the 2015 legislative session, we worked with our colleagues to fully fund our local schools, provide cost of living increases for state employees, and protect funding for pregnant women and mental health. 

Unfortunately, at the end of Session, Governor Hogan refused to fully fund local schools and other priorities that the legislature provided funds for in the budget. He initially didn't fund state employee pay increases; however, he later released the funds.  

Because our economy is growing but wages and salaries are rising too slowly, we remained focused on job creation, raising incomes, and protecting public services for working and retired families. We also were vigilant to protect the progress Maryland has made in recent years -- expanding health insurance, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, promoting innovation, and expanding transit. 

Even with the Governor’s last-minute maneuvers, we achieved key budget priorities including:
  • boosting state funds for schools in Prince George's by $40.4 million and Anne Arundel by $9.7 million.

  • creating construction jobs in repairing UM buildings and local schools, and increasing investments in roads, bridges, and transit.

  • boosting investment in the University of Maryland and other public colleges by $17.5 million.

  • balancing the budget to protect Maryland's AAA bond rating.

  • $30 million to help build a new Prince George's hospital.

  • $10.1 million to protect open space and improve local parks.

We worked to assure funds raised in the state transportation package we passed two years ago are used for important improvements to our communities: 
  • Rebuilding Route One in College Park and modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton are under way.

  • We strongly urged Governor Hogan to move forward with the light rail Purple Line connecting the Metro Green Line and the University of Maryland with Bethesda and New Carrollton.

  • New trains on the MARC Camden Line through Laurel, Beltsville, and College Park were added in March.

  • Weekend MARC service on the Penn Line through Odenton was launched last year. 
We passed a two year ban on fracking in Maryland, while regulations are developed to protect our environment. Legislation passed to study ways to improve Metro service in Maryland.  

A tax credit was created for veterans over 65 which makes the first $10,000 of a military pension exempt from Maryland taxes.  And there will be a tax amnesty period for delinquent taxpayers from Sept. 1 - Oct. 30, 2015, waiving civil penalties and reducing interest for nonpayment, non-reporting, or underreporting by half.

We fought to pass a bill to stop the construction of cell towers on Anne Arundel County school property while a work group examines the issue. It failed to pass; we’ll keep pushing this issue. 

To help senior citizens threatened with losing their life’s savings from fraud, we passed a new law to prevent the embezzled funds from disappearing by freezing the offender's cash assets, and upon conviction, returning the stolen funds. 

To improve recreation for Laurel families, we secured state funds to improve the Armory Anderson Murphy center. And for College Park, we passed legislation assuring that $400,000 in State funds will be available to help the City and the University redevelop the City Hall site. 

We worked together on all these initiatives: 
  • Requiring multiple-line telephone systems to enable direct dialing of 9-1-1 in emergencies, championed by Delegate Peña-Melnyk. Remember “One Number, Any Device, ANYWHERE.”

  • Strengthening rules to reduce harmful stormwater pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, championed by Delegate Frush.

  • Blocking the Governor’s long-term cuts in school funding, championed by Delegate Barnes, vice chair of the House Education Subcommittee.

  • Creating a state commission to identify ways to reduce the impact on our communities of extreme weather events caused by climate change, championed by Senator Rosapepe.
Please let us know if there are other issues you have questions or thoughts about. And, of course, feel free to be in touch if we can be of help to you.