Just want to share this email from our district state senate Guy Guzzone.
This year’s operating budget SB190/HB150 contains over $6.3 billion for K-12 education so that Maryland can retain its ranking as one of the best educational systems in the nation. The budget also includes $1.5 billion for public colleges and universities to hold tuition increases to no more than 2 percent.
The Capital Budget, SB 191/HB151, provided over $330.8 million for K-12 school construction. The administration provided $280 million for education. The legislature added $51 million, including $4.7 million for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, $6.1 million for aging schools, and $40 million for school construction for schools with growing enrollment. The administration included $420 million for higher education in this budget, including $75.4 million for Historically Black Colleges. The legislature added an additional $5 million for the Universities at Shady Grove for a total of $36.5 million, $4.7 million for Morgan State Student Services, $60 million for community colleges, and $80 million in future years.
In response to concerns about the amount of testing that students are required to take, HB1233 requires each county Board of Education to notify parents about standardized testing. HB633/SB794 ensures that the PARCC test is not part of teacher and principal evaluations. HB657 turns the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment into a sampling test rather than a test given to every student. HB412/SB533 increases transparency by requiring districts to annually report the amount of mandated testing in their schools.
HB1106/SB921 increases Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement to 25% by 2020. This bill will reduce climate pollutants, clean up our air, and create jobs in the solar and wind industries. HB610/SB323 requires the reduction of greenhouse gasses by 40% from 2006 levels by 2030. HB1328 restricts the sale of aftermarket wheel weights containing lead and mercury which are proven neurotoxins. HB211/SB198 was amended to regulate the use of neonicotinoid pesticides by the general public in an attempt to limit the exposure of bees to these possibly harmful insecticides. HB1603/SB937 requires the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science to study and identify a science-based, sustainable harvest level for the state’s public oyster fishery. HB462/SB383 increases the funding for Program Open Space, promising full funding by 2019.
HB1113/SB663 prohibits the sale of any dog or cat in a public place except under certain circumstances which will help eliminate the sale of “puppy mill” animals. HB563/SB283 makes the possession of dog fighting equipment illegal.
HB1013/SB908, passed over the Governor’s veto, provides transparency in transportation funding. It requires the administration to create a scoring system that rates each proposed road, bridge, or transit project that costs more than $5 million. This law spells out nine criteria on which each project would have to be judged. If the administration does not pick the top project, it would have to explain why not. The bill does not spell out which projects can be approved, nor does it address how to eliminate projects. Although it establishes 9 measures, it is left to the administration to create how the scoring system would work, and how much weight to grant each of those nine categories. In summary, the law only requires the governor to issue public justification for not picking a top ranking project. This bill does not require that he pick it.
HB1003/SB481 mirrors federal law and prohibits discrimination by an employer based on gender identity and mandates equal pay for equal work. The ABLE Program,HB431/SB355, creates a secure mechanism for funding expenses on behalf of beneficiaries with disabilities. HB1378/SB1007 establishes a retirement saving program for the 1 million Marylanders who have no retirement savings. It will ensure that businesses with payroll systems offer their employees payroll deductions or other retirement plans, and ends the $300 annual filing fee for businesses which offer such plans.
The operating budget SB190/HB150 is balanced and fiscally responsible. The State has fully funded its pension obligation and is paying, at a minimum, an additional $75 million beyond what is mandated. The $42.3 billion state budget includes no new taxes. The budget leaves a $415 million unspent surplus for next year, and it stashes another $1 billion in a rainy-day fund.
All three major rating agencies once again affirmed the State’s “AAA” bond rating. Maryland has the distinction of being 1 of 11 states in the country to maintain a “AAA” bond rating. The rating agencies consistently cite the relative strength of Maryland’s economy, tradition of sound financial management, and adherence to our debt affordability guidelines.
The capital budget, SB191/HB151, funds building, construction, demolition, planning, renovation, conversion, replacement, and capital equipment for State facilities such as parks, hospitals, and public higher education institutions. Additionally, the budget funds local projects in every Maryland county, ranging from public schools to community health centers. This capital budget comes in under $995 million, the limit set by the governor for new general obligation debt. In addition to the education funding, it includes $442 million for environmental initiatives, and $68 million for health and human services, including $27.5 million for the new Prince George’s Hospital
|Maryland State Senator Guy J. Guzzone – Howard County District 13|
James Senate Office Building, Room 121
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis MD 21401 United States
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