by Mike Conroy
Before the start of the February 25 Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors meeting, District 39 Delegate Kirill Reznik was invited to speak to discuss the current legislative session. Reznik talked briefly about capital projects and new initiatives that were going through session this year.
Reznik noted that he was no longer on the Health and Government Operations Committee, and hs been reassigned this year to the Appropriations Committee. He also now chairs the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee, which is the largest single piece of the state budget, at over $15 billion in operating monies.
Reznik said that funding for capital projects was one of the main hurdles this year, and mentioned two projects that specifically affect Village residents. The first is the Watkins Mill Interchange, a project supported by many in the county, as well as the City of Gaithersburg. He noted that many other projects in the immediate area hinge on this interchange being implemented. However, after planning and funding had been approved, the Department of Transportation pulled the RFP for the project. After some research as to why, Reznik and Senator Brain Feldman put in cross-legislation to mandate that this project be completed.
The second project Reznik discussed was funding for construction of a new STEM education building at the Universities at Shady Grove. The project originally had called for appropriation of funds over the next several years, but had recently been redirected by the Governor. Again, after research and testimony by members of the community, this money was re-instated to the university system.
Reznik also mentioned a few initiatives being worked on during this session related to alcohol laws.
He noted many of these changes were due to the recent tragic passing of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who was fatally struck by a drunk driver. Reznik said there were many needed changes to address problems with the current laws. He said proposed legislation would impose increased penalties for DUIs and the potential installation of alcohol monitoring devices in vehicles. A second piece of alcohol-related legislation aims to increase penalties on adults who host drinking parties in their homes.
Reznik thanked the Board for their time, and noted he can be contacted through his website, http://reznikformaryland.com, by the Board or residents for future assistance.