Halfway Through Our Session
Seven weeks are finished and our 90 day Session is halfway over. Controversial bills, funding for our district, two bills of mine have passed, and much more! It is a busy Session but we are getting things done!
The Republican Caucus
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans advocated for transparency and public comment in the creation of Governor Moore’s Department of Service and Civic Innovation.
Earlier that day, SB 551 – Education – Service Year Option Program – Establishment (Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023) was heard in both the Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committee. The Service Year Option is a signature project of Governor Moore and would be managed within the proposed Department of Service and Civic Innovation. The issue with SB551 is that it assumes that this new cabinet department has already been established and does not address its creation or structure.
This Department was proposed through an Executive Order issued on the Governor’s first day in office, and by following this process, this Department is automatically created unless the majority of either the House or the Senate raises objections within 50 days, per Article 2, Section 24 of the Maryland Constitution.
While this process is a legal process, it is not the best process.
“Our caucus strongly believes in checks and balances,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Hershey. “We raise this issue as part of our duty to promote transparency in State Government. I would hope that the Governor would want to implement his priorities with the affirmative support of the General Assembly, rather than sidelining their expertise and silencing the voices of their constituents.”
“Creating a new cabinet department and expanding the size of State Government is a big deal,” said Senator Jason Gallion, the ranking Republican member on the Senate’s Education, Energy and Environment Committee. “Every legislator has the responsibility to do their due diligence, and I was hoping to have a greater opportunity to understand the Governor’s vision for this department, how he sees it co-existing with other existing state public service programs and learn how I could partner with the Administration to make it successful.
Two Bills of My Bills Pass Senate
I am pleased to inform you that two bills that I brought to the Senate floor have passed unanimously in the Senate Chamber; Senate Bills 276 and 384. Both bills passed 44-0 and is in their respective first reading in the House. I look forward to seeing these pass the opposite chamber and go to the Governor’s desk!
Funding in Our District
In our District we have three new grant requests approved by the Department of Natural Resources. They are the following:
DNR has received a grant request for Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Funding assistance in the amount of $13,842.90 from the City of Frostburg for the Sowers Field Improvements project in Allegany County. This project proposes to purchase and install LED lighting for Sowers Field at the Parris Glendening Recreation Complex. The total cost for this project is $51,495.
Another request is for he amount of $25,000 from Garrett County for the Deer Park Town Center Lighting project. This project proposes to purchase and install lighting systems to enhance community events and extend public usage for the Deer Park Town Center. The total cost for this project is $25,000.
Finally, the Department of Natural Resources has received a grant request for Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure Funding assistance in the amount of $48,425 from Allegany County for the Cresaptown Sports Complex Improvements project. This project proposes to remove and replace the deteriorating athletic field fencing at the Cresaptown Sports Complex. The total cost for this project is $48,425.
I look forward to giving more updates as budgets are finalized during and after Session!
Throughout this Session, I want to hear from you. I serve Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties and all of your voices are important to me. The best way to represent you is to have your voice heard. Please feel free to contact my Annapolis Office at (410) 841-3565 or my District Office at (240) 362-7040. My public email address is now firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to email me at anytime. I also have a District Office at the Williamsport City Hall. It is on the second floor in the first office. Our mailing address below remains the same however.
I continue to be your voice and advocate in Annapolis so I want to hear from you. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or what I can do to help you. I am on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the Executive Nominations Committee. All of our hearings are streamed live on Youtube and the MGA website.
If you are interested in seeing where my bills are in the process, you can create a MyMGA account or you can click here to view bills I am sponsoring by clicking “Legislation” under my name. You can sign up to testify on any bill you wish.