From State Sen. J.B. Jennings:
The Maryland Defense Act (SJ5)
Thursday was a sad day in the Maryland State Senate. In a rush to pass legislation to give Maryland’s Attorney General unlimited power to file any suit against the Trump Administration, Senate leadership rushed the bill through committee hearings and brought it to the Senate floor, refusing to give Republicans a day to look at the proposal and make potential amendments (which is common courtesy in the beginning of session). I, along with several of my fellow Republicans, walked off the Senate floor in protest of such a disrespectful act. Our actions had nothing to do with the subject matter of the resolution, but rather the civility that should have been shown to members who deserved the opportunity to read and fully understand the proposed legislation. While the bill states that the attorney general must inform the governor of any action he intends to take against the Trump Administration, ultimately the governor cannot stop the attorney general from taking action.
Common Sense Paid Sick Leave
This past week I also heard over 10 hours of testimony at the Paid Sick Leave hearing. Governor Hogan has introduced legislation to provide common sense, balanced paid sick leave benefits that have the potential to cover nearly all working Marylanders without placing an unmanageable burden on job creators. Businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to offer paid sick leave totaling at least 40 hours per year, with the ability for employees to roll over a maximum of 40 hours each year. The proposal also calls for part-time employees to be covered after a minimum of 30 working hours. Additionally, Maryland small business job creators with fewer than 50 employees that choose to offer paid sick leave will be eligible for tax relief incentives.
Public School Charter Act
The recent confirmation of Betsy DeVos for US Department of Education Secretary has brought a lot of attention to the issue of charter schools. Maryland’s current public charter school law is both restrictive and vague, which makes the state unable to compete for millions of dollars of Federal Charter School Program grants. Under Governor Hogan’s Public School Charter Act of 2017, legislation will create the Maryland Public Charter School Authority, which will seek to give charter schools increased autonomy and exemption from local laws regarding issues like curriculum, textbooks, class size and staffing ratio. This legislation also creates a new funding mechanism for public charter schools, where state investments would be delivered directly to the schools. Currently, allocations are disbursed by local boards of education, which have funded public charter schools at far lesser rates than traditional schools.
Harford County’s Day of Remembrance
I was honored to join representatives from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to pay tribute to Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, who were killed in the line of duty one year ago on Friday, February 10th.
GOP Caucus Reception with the Governor
This week I had the opportunity to meet with Governor Hogan and the entire GOP caucus at Government House to discuss the 2017 legislative agenda
Thank you for your continued interest in Maryland’s 2017 Legislation Session, and please stay tuned for next week’s Annapolis update. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback on the issues I’ve outlined today, or anything else of importance to you and your family. As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.