by Mike Conroy
Senator Nancy King attended the April 27 Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors meeting to update those in attendance on the recent legislative session. Other members of the District 39 team were attending similar events that evening.
King began the update noting that this year was a good, bipartisan session, where legislators tried to anticipate federal budget cuts to areas such as Planned Parenthood, health insurance and public television, and plan accordingly.
She said they were able to fully fund the education budget, including $56 million for school construction in Montgomery County. Capital funds were secured for Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove as well. In other school-related items, King said legislation was put in place to put a moratorium on Pre-K testing, as well as a cap on total allowed testing time in a classroom, with the goal of more time for learning.
Additionally, legislation was passed to increase access to school meals for struggling families. King also said she sponsored a bill that increases the fine for illegally passing a school bus. While the increase in fine creates some extra revenue, the goal of this bill is to create a safer environment for children during school travel; over 6,600 instances of vehicles passing busses have been recorded in Montgomery County alone.
King thanked MVF Executive Vice President Dave Humpton for his work on behalf of the Village on various pieces of legislation that affect home owner and condominium associations. She noted that MVF’s input gives good insight into legislation that could be harmful to associations and home owners, and that helps her know what changes to advocate for.
Several pieces of legislation were implemented to provide much needed resources to treat substance abuse patients, specifically those addicted to heroin and opioids. The American Medical Association said this series of bills was very comprehensive and should help to combat this current epidemic. Other states have noted the seriousness of this problem and have begun implementing similar legislation.
The senator noted that after extensive debate, the uncertainties of fracking and associated potential environmental and health risks are still too great. The governor has signed legislation banning fracking in the State of Maryland. Libraries were removed from the Department of Education and placed into their own agency, creating an avenue for direct funding to public libraries.
King said there is a possibility of a special session in May to discuss legislation regarding licenses for the sale of marijuana in the state and parental rights for rapists.
Senator King also reported that there is funding for the I-270 project and noted that the RFP asked bidders to present the best solution to solving traffic on I-270. She said the winning bid is to install signs similar to those on I-66 in Virginia that hold traffic on off-ramps and feed them into traffic. She added that they will have to see how this solution will fit with the Watkins Mill Interchange before the project begins.
Senator King reported that the District 39 team will hold a town hall meeting to further share legislative updates at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Road, Suite 1000, Germantown.
For information on the legislation passed during the 2017 Legislative Session, visit http://mgaleg.maryland.gov. For more information or to address issues or concerns, residents are encouraged to contact Senator King. Visit www.friendsofnancy
king.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-858-3686.