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Friday, January 27, 2017

Senator Eckardt, District 37 Weekly Wrap-Up

Senator Adelaide Eckardt, District 37
Legislative Weekly Wrap-Up
January 25, 2017

Governor Hogan - Integrity in Government Initiative
Last week, Governor Hogan held a Press Conference outside the State House announcing his efforts to restore Maryland’s faith in state government. Hogan introduced the Public Integrity Act, Legislative Transparency Act, Liquor Board Reform Act of 2017, and Redistricting Reform of 2017. The goal of this platform is to bring transparency and accountability to all of Maryland. I have highlighted the importance of each act below. 

                                      Public Integrity Act of 2017
The Governor’s proposal works to solve corruption among state and local governments. This act establishes common sense restrictions that prohibit legislators from pushing legislation that directly helps their employer or company. This act also gives the State Ethics Commission oversight over all registered lobbyists, consultants, and elected officials.
Legislative Transparency Act of 2017 (SB 253)
Under this act, Governor Hogan has committed to reserving $1.2 million dollars in FY 2018 budget to fully fund video livestreaming of all meetings in the General Assembly. Citizens will be able to watch their lawmakers make decisions and vote in the legislature and/or committee.
Liquor Board Reform Act of 2017
The Governor’s proposal also increases transparency within local liquor boards. Liquor board applicants would be required to complete criminal background checks. Also, this reform would fully remove the role of political party central committees from the liquor board nominating process. This is a key piece of legislation as many local liquor boards are ran by the party in power.
Redistricting Reform Act of 2017 (SB 252)
Finally, at the press conference, Governor Hogan revealed legislation that would act on the recommendations of the bipartisan Redistricting Reform Commission. This commission was developed by Governor Hogan once he took office in 2013. The Governor is committed to addressing gerrymandering districts within the state and ensuring there are always free and fair elections in Maryland.
Eastern Shore Delegation
The Eastern Shore Delegation heard presentations from Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, and Eastern Shore Superintendents. We were able to discuss school funding, state testing, possibility for school bus seat belts legislation, and community service learning hour requirements. Dr. Karen Salmon provided information on the Kirwan Commission that is reviewing the current education funding formulas for the state. Funding is a concern for many of the Eastern Shore Superintendents. Hopefully the commission will provide recommendations that brings fairness to school aid statewide.

The Eastern Shore Superintendents spoke to the Delegation about required local and state testing. A majority of the Superintendents present support the current required state testing, but are not in favor of more mandated state testing. The Superintendents believe additional state testing would reduce the amount of time teachers have with the students.

A closely debated topic that may come up this General Assembly is the use of seat belts on school buses. The Superintendents understand the need to keep students staff, but want to ensure the issue of liability for the bus drivers is discussed before legislation is developed or passed. We will be following this issue closely.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office with your thoughts or concerns for this General Assembly. I look forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

Hope to see some Barren Creek News. Sure is a a need, and a safety factor at the RT50 intersection, making a U turn to return South to Delmar east.

Anonymous said...

Richard Colburn

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Hope to see some Barren Creek News. Sure is a a need, and a safety factor at the RT50 intersection, making a U turn to return South to Delmar east.

January 27, 2017 at 6:34 AM

Boy you want everything don't you!!

Anonymous said...

Wish Hogan had nads like Trump
Maybe MD could get in this century with CC permits

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report, Senator!

Anonymous said...

Seat belts question is problematic.

My belt is fastened before I turn the key.

School buses today have high back, padded seats and buses have an enviable safety record due to good drivers and consideration (mostly) from other motorists.

But if there are belts someone will be on the hook to ensure they are used, or accessible to be used. Buses run on tight schedules. How much extra time will be allocated to ensure everyone is buckled at every stop?

In the event of an accident, what is the likelihood kids might not be able to free themselves?

I understand some states require belts. Do they mandate usage? And what is the experience with kids unable to free themselves in accidents?

Just posing the question before we let 'feel good' run ahead of 'think good using facts'.

Not related to any bus owners or drivers.

Anonymous said...

Still no pro-gun / 2nd amendment rights bills. Why?