News From Annapolis
Happy Valentine’s Day! The 2020 session has 53 days left. The bill introduction deadline for both the Senate and House has passed. This means that any bill submitted after the deadline will go to the Rules Committee for a decision on whether it will continue and be scheduled for a hearing or vote. I am continuing as Senate Delegation Chair and am the primary sponsor on 20 bills, approximately half of which are Senate Delegation bills. Bill hearings are continuing and the Committees are working later into the evenings. It is great to see so many passionate advocates come down to the State Capital to voice their opinions on pending legislation.
The North County Unified Tennis Team visited last Friday, it was my honor to introduce them on the Senate Floor. They received a Senate Resolution to commemorate winning their third consecutive state championship!
We also welcomed two new bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas to the historic state house. Thank you President Emeritus Mike Miller for his leadership in bringing them to Annapolis!
Anne Arundel County Liquor Board legislation
Over the past several months the Anne Arundel County Senators have been working on several fixes to the Anne Arundel County Board of License Commissioners. I have introduced several bills with the intention of modernizing the board to bring it in line with the liquor boards of the other large Maryland counties. They include legislation to:
Increase the size of the Liquor Board from 3 to 5 members; stipulating there one member to be appointed from each legislative district in Anne Arundel County.Create a movie theater license so movie theaters in the county can sell beer and wine. Create a license for barber shops and salons so they can serve small quantities of beer and wine to customers.Create a license allowing florists to include alcohol, a bottle of champagne for example, in the floral/gift baskets they deliver within the county.Allowing more restaurants in the County by modifying the requirements regarding multiple liquor licenses.
You can find out more about this legislation here
Here is a brief overview of the other legislation I am sponsoring this session. You can track their progress and any other bill you may be interested in, on the MGA website http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/Details/beidle01 and see when they will have a hearing.
SB 31 -Anne Arundel County - Board of Community College Trustees
This bill make changes to the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees. It establishes term limits for board members, limits them to three consecutive four year terms and requiring that they reside within Anne Arundel County.
SB 222 - Anne Arundel County Board of Education – Annual Meeting and Election of Officers
This is a simple bill that alters the initial meeting date and election of presiding officers of the Anne Arundel Board of Education. Currently the law requires the election of officers at their first meeting in July, now that the School Board is elected in November the election of officers should align with the new members taking office in December.
SB 315 - Electric Industry - Community Choice Energy
This bill will authorize a county or locality to form a “Community Choice Aggregator”. These Community Choice Aggregators will serve as negotiators for all residential electric customers within a given jurisdiction and they will be able to negotiate the purchase of electric services on behalf of their residents. This is in an effort to allow communities to have the choice as to which providers they use.
SB 425 - Debt Collection - Exemptions from Attachment and Execution
This bill increases the amount of a debtor’s wages that are exempt from attachment. SB 245 is designed to protect the essentials of daily life—including shelter and a basic amount of income—from seizure by a family’s creditors. It does not end wage garnishment - it provides a basic level of protection for the working poor and prohibits garnishment of insurance proceeds.
SB 456 - Transportation - Third Chesapeake Bay Crossing – Study
This bill will require the Maryland Transit Institute at the University of Maryland to conduct a study on the addition of a third Chesapeake Bay crossing. The study will look into the environmental and health impacts of a third crossing as well as the impact on traffic on arteries such as Route 50 and 97.
SB 526 - Transportation - Private Sector Transportation Projects Ombudsman – Established
This bill requires MDOT designate an employee to serve as an Ombudsman or public advocate. This position will respond to concerns, complaints and questions from Marylanders about private sector transportation projects, like the MAGLEV project.
SB 556 - Insurance - Product and Service Offerings
This bill allows insurers to provide products or service with a policy at no charge or a discounted price. These products may educate, assess, monitor, control or prevent, the risk of loss associated with the risks insured by the policy.
SB 703- Circuit Court Judges - Selection and Tenure
This bill is a proposed Maryland Constitutional Amendment, it changes the appointment process for Circuit Court Judges. Currently Circuit judges are appointed by the Governor, approved by the Senate and run in the next election to remain on the bench. They go through a significant vetting process and give up their practice or their job before sitting on the bench. The judges are not politicians, they cannot personally request campaign donations or profess an opinion. They are at a true disadvantage in competitive elections.
SB 703 requires the judicial applicant be vetted by the Judicial Nominating Committee, be appointed by the Governor, approved by the Executive Nominations Committee and the full Senate. If the judge gets 80% of the full Senate vote, they will not be required to run for election. It is anticipated that these changes will provide the citizens, competent judges that represent diversity in gender, ethnicity, and experience.
SB 746 - State Fire Marshal – Sprinkler Systems Enforcement
This is a simple bill requiring the State Fire Marshal to enforce any requirements relating to the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in new one and two family homes.
SB 898 - Vehicle Laws - Rental Vehicles - Driver's License Verification and Records
This bill prohibits someone renting a vehicle to another person without verifying that the renter’s driver’s license has not expired. It also allows rental car companies to use electronic identification devices, like fingerprint scanners, to identify a driver and get them a rental car. This legislation will allow rental car companies at airports to speed up the rental process.
My scholarship application is now available online, it can be found here! I ask that interested students please print out and mail the completed application to my office before the March 31st deadline. It is important to note that the FAFSA must be completed by March 1st. Please complete the application carefully, the committee also requires a transcript and an essay. This is a four year renewable scholarship so if you are already receiving a senatorial scholarship from my office or another office you are not eligible.
Scholarship Committee Volunteers Needed
We are still looking for volunteers to join our 2020 Scholarship Committee. We need a dedicated group of individuals who want to make a real difference in the lives of our students. Our Scholarship Committee reviews and considers all District 32 scholarship applications and makes award recommendations. It is not a big commitment, it requires reviewing multiple applications, approximately 20 applications, at home and then attending an evening meeting in late April, to rank the applications with other committee members. To volunteer, contact Nancy Crawford in my office at 410-841-3593 or respond to this email.
The 2020 Census
Every ten years a count of every person living in the United States is required by the U.S. Constitution. It is easy, confidential and so important to provide this information. The data collected by the census not only determines the number Congressional seats Maryland has, it also determines how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year. Money for infrastructure, healthcare, schools, Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, and countless other programs in your community. Be sure to be counted.
My office remains in Room 202 of the James Senate Office Building, stop by if you are in Annapolis and share your thoughts with my staff. Nancy Lipin Crawford, my Chief of Staff, Joe Cadman, my Scheduler/Legislative Aide, Susan Meyer our Legacy Leader, and Molly Cannon our Student Intern will be happy to assist you and help with your issues and questions.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Senator from District 32,