State Senator, Ed Reilly, was the first to address
He said that the Governor had asked for a four percent increase in the state budget but had only gotten a two percent increase. Of the 1000 Senate bills and 1400 House bills (many of them duplicate
bills) 500 to 600 passed. Two of the bills that were passed that dealt with medical issues, were SB 179, the Kathleen
A. Mathias Chemotherapy Parity Act of 2012, and SB 121, the Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program - Sunset
Extension. A bill that seemed to be a sure thing to pass but failed in the last minutes of the session, was HB 607,
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Information - Sign Posting Requirements.
State delegate, Cathy Vitale, was the next to speak. Having already
provided everyone with a 2012 Legislative Session Wrap-Up newsletter, she spoke on general topics. She said that the governor of
Maryland, the Maryland Speaker of the House, and the Maryland President of the Senate were not speaking to each other, and that this may require a special session to finish the budget bills. One bill
that did not make it out of committee because public opposition, was HB 1051, Sales and Use Tax - Services.
Environmental bills often had many people testifying, for example the flush
tax. Yet another bill that had many testifying was HB 1397 which would have allowed motorists to cross a double
yellow line to give a bicycles a three foot space. That bill also failed. She said that the Ft. Meade expansion (BRAC) has been very hard on Meade High School, and as far as roads in the area are
concerned, the federal government is not doing its part.
State Delegate, Pamela Beidle, also provided a wrap-up paper - Special Session vs. "Doomsday Budget". She said that the flush tax started off as a three fold increase but was scaled back to a two fold one. She was very
pleased that a number of the bills that she sponsored were passed, one of which was HB 149, Mopeds and Motor Scooters
- Titling, Insurance, and Required Use of Protective Headgear.
State delegate, Ron George, was the next to speak. He pointed out that
once again, a partly elected school board for Anne Arundel county did not pass. He then spoke about the shifting of teacher pensions to counties. One third of pension funding would be
footed by the counties. He also said that if there was no special session, that the shifting would not happen.
Next came the County Councilmen:
Councilman Smith said that he was the new kid on the block. He gave us some background information.
Councilman Walker explained how Councilman Smith got on the board. He said that the council charter needs to be changed to make it clear on how to remove councilpersons, and how to replace them. He
explained the "Maintenance of Effort" for schools that is in the state law.
Councilman Trumbauer spoke about the county budget. He was pleased that the furlough days were gotten rid of. He talked about the law allowing playing fields to be built on "Open Space" areas. He
said that the bill would be dealt with on 7 May.
Councilman Ladd went over the county budget in detail. He also talked about the county
charter review, especially dealing with councilperson removal and replacement.