District 39 team talks legislative session

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by Mike Conroy

Senator Nancy King and District 39 Delegates Charles Barkley and Shane Robinson attended the Montgomery Village Foundation May Board Meeting to update the Board and residents on this year’s legislative session. The District 39 team noted that this year was different, as there wasn’t much room to add much to the budget.

Senator King said that due to a mandate added last year, public education was fully funded for 2017, and that was a great step in the process. She also noted her involvement in the Commission on School Construction, which is looking at how to build new facilities more economically; a report from the committee should be available in December. Regarding transportation, King said the I-270 interchange at Watkins Mill Road was approved, though the project will have two exit ramps and only one on ramp.
King, who is also on the Capital Budget Committee, was able to secure funding for a fourth bio-med building at the Universities at Shady Grove. She also noted that Noah’s law was recently passed, as well as many other bills; King was happy with the work put into the session, and the results afterward.

Delegate Charles Barkley relayed that $51 million was secured from the capital budget for school construction and $17 million for Montgomery College projects. On the transportation front, Barkley said a bill was passed to rank transportation projects, giving a priority list to the Governor.

Barkley said progress was made on the returning sick leave bill, but it did not pass the senate, as well as a bill on limits on testing in schools, which also did not pass the senate. Barkley was more successful with Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program and Trust, which requires small businesses to set up a retirement savings plan for employees, enabling employees to save money for retirement.

Delegate Shane Robinson worked on environmental bills, including the Pollinator Protection Act which decreases the use of neonicotinoids in the state. Consumers will no longer be able to purchase products with neonicotinoid insecticides at retail stores, to help with the decline of the bee population.

Robinson also worked on the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act renewal, to get the state to commit to lowering emissions over time. This is in line with Clean Energy Jobs and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS), which defines the tiers of renewable energy. Changes in the emission reduction act aim to have 25% of renewable energy coming from the Tier 1 category by 2025. Further changes will also redefine the types of energy in each tier.

Senator King and Delegate Kirill Reznik sponsored SB591 and HB970 bills respectively, at MVF’s suggestion. These bills will common interest communities, including Montgomery Village, in collecting delinquent assessments. They establish statutory liability for Tax Sale purchasers to pay homeowners association assessments as of the date that the defaulting owner loses the right to get the property back. The bills help homeowners associations reclaim lost fees, which is something that affects all homeowners in the association.

For more information on the FY2017 Budget or legislation passed during the 2016 Legislative Session, visit http://mgaleg.maryland.gov; click “Publications” and then “The 90 Day Report, A review of the 2016 Legislative Session.”