From Del. Kathy Szeliga:
Shark Tank for Felons
We want to help – but this goes too far!
Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Working for yourself is part of the American Dream. But maybe you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to make a go of it. Maybe you don’t have the money. You could go on the TV show, Shark Tank, and try to get some investors to help you live your dream. If you can’t get on Shark Tank, maybe you should go to jail in Maryland.
If you’re an ex-felon, Maryland taxpayers are going to help you start your own business with a paid mentor and cash.
The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill to help Ex-Offenders start a business, HB 909. I’m all for helping ex-offenders re-enter society and become law-abiding taxpayers like you and me. However, I think this one goes too far.
The Department of Public Safety and Department of Labor Licensing and Regulations (DLLR) will select 3-5 individuals who have “RECENTLY” exited the correctional system to start their own small business. DLLR will help them:
1. Develop a business plan
2. Get training to start and run the small business
3. Be assigned a personal mentor to help them- 2 new state employees
4. Partner with DLLR
5. Help them get financing through the State of Maryland (get money to set up and get their business running).
According to the fiscal note, the program will require hiring two new state employees or contractors to help these 3-5 ex-felons start a business. There are too many law abiding, tax paying Maryland citizens who would like this kind of financial help and personal attention.
We all agree that ex-offenders SHOULD GET employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support, and other services that can help reduce reoffending and violations of probation and parole. But setting up a special program for recently released felons that will cost taxpayers more than $100,000 per year and helping them get money from the State of Maryland to finance these efforts is just too much.
Speed Limit Goes Up
Bill passes with wide support
The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill allowing some highways to increase the speed limit to 70 mph. It is possible to balance safety with speed limit
From the fiscal note: According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the eighty-fifth percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85% of motorists drive on a given road when unaffected by slower traffic or poor weather. MDOT considers the use of the eighty-fifth percentile speed a good guideline for setting the appropriate speed limit for a road. MDOT has advised that research indicates that the posted speed limit has little effect on the speeds at which most motorists drive. Thus, raising the speed limit, if done in accordance with traffic and engineering studies and in consideration of the eighty-fifth percentile guidelines, is unlikely to increase the number of crashes on a road.
I cosponsored this bill.
Uber and Lyft Will Ride On!
Bill passes in last hours
Ride Sharing programs, like Uber and Lyft, can now operate legally in Maryland. Prior to the bill passing in the last hours of the 2015 legislative session, only Uber Black and Uber SUV were ok. Now, riders can use Uber X and Uber XL.
Uber and other ride sharing programs are great for the free-market. I think we can expand the use of free-market solutions to many sectors of our economy taking advantage of technology.
I hope Baltimore City Public Schools examine ride sharing. Last year, they spent over $5 million in cabs for students!!
$5 million for cabs Baltimore City Public Schools
I will be bringing you updates on the laws passed during the recently completed 90-day session over the next few weeks. Many bills passed and many more failed to make it through. Governor Hogan has until the end of May to sign, let go without his signature, or veto all the legislation that passed.
Thank you for your continued help and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance to you and your family.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga