From Del. Mary Ann Lisanti:
As we turn towards the home stretch here in Annapolis, I wanted to give you an update on where my legislation stands. Eleven bills that I am the primary sponsor of have crossed over to the Senate, making them one step closer to becoming law. Both the House and Senate have passed the Capital Budget which include funding for three of my bond bills (HB 333, HB970, HB 1713) totaling an additional $471,000 to Harford County projects. Below is a brief description of each project.
BRINGING MONEY BACK TO HARFORD COUNTY:
Harford County – Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center
HB 333 – Allocates $125,000 to the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC) in Harford County for renovation and expansion of the SARC Safehouse Shelter. The project will increase the current facility by adding 13,398 sq. ft. and increases the available emergency beds from 28 to 40. The expansion also includes much needed additional family living, student study, and kitchen space.
Aberdeen Proving Ground Discovery Preview Center
HB 970 – Awards $250,00 to establish the Aberdeen Proving Ground Discovery Preview Center at the Aberdeen Train Station. Similar to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This project is a public-private partnership. Education, technology, and heritage come together to help enhance our mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) workforce develop by using APG’s contributions to society as a teaching tool. The Preview Center will be the first phase of a full 10,000 square foot Discovery Center that is planned to open in 2022 on APG. The Center will provide area students and visitors the opportunities to interact with technology, and STEM professionals in meaningful ways to encourage career development, training opportunities, internships and job placement to enhance our county’s future workforce.
Harford County – Historic Colored School
HB 1713 – Allocates $96,000 for the renovation and property improvements to the recently acquired Historic Havre de Grace Colored School. The Colored School Foundation in partnership with the non-profit Community Projects of Havre de Grace, inc. now owns and maintains the historic facility. These funds will be used in order to upgrade the school to a safe and visitor ready condition. By upgrading the school, alumni will have the place to tell their story of the struggle for Civil Rights, Education in Harford County during Segregation, the progress we’ve made as a community over the last 65 years and the challenges we still face.
BILLS ON THE WAY TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK:
Harford County Sheriff – Deputy Sheriff’s and Correctional Officers – (Collective Bargaining)
Late on Friday the House of Delegates passed SB 73 Authorizing a representative of the Harford County Deputy Sheriffs and Correctional Officer’s Unions to bargain collectively with the Harford County Sheriff and the Harford County Executive on wages and benefits packages. Last session, I was proud to have worked with our Sheriff’s Deputies to draft and sponsor similar legislation in HB 1431 that passed the House and Senate to grant this authority. Unfortunately, the bill did not get back to the House by Midnight on the last day of Session therefore it died. I’m so pleased the House and Senate delegations were able to pass the bill this year.
Alcoholic Beverages – Brewing Co. and Winery Off-Site Permits – Harford County Farm Fair
HB 270 adds the Harford County Farm Fair to the list of County Fairs that allow a brewing company or winery with a valid MD license to have an off-site events permit for tasting of the products they produce.
Municipalities – Charter Amendments – Procedures
HB 615 requires municipalities to hold a public hearing and give advance notice of the public hearing when the governing body is considering amending the municipal charter. Currently a municipality is only required to give notice to the public within 40 days after a charter amendment has been adopted. No public hearing was previously required by state law.
LEGISLATION ADVANCED TO THE STATE SENATE:
MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT & PUBLIC SAFETY LEGISLATION:
Tax Free – Military Retirement Income
HB 327 – will phase out state income taxes on military retirement income incrementally over the next four years until completed in 2022. Having represented APG for 12 years, I am well aware of the contributions our veterans and their families have made to our freedom therefore it is my honor to be the lead sponsor of this bill with a former Marine/ Delegate Pat Young of Baltimore County.
Department of Commerce – Employment; State’s Defense Industry – Study
HB 1542 – rrequiring the Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, to conduct a study on employment and economic impact of the State’s defense industry. As we face the next BRAC in 2022 we need to be prepared with economic and employment data to protect the jobs that exists and grow our defense workforce. The last study on the defense sector was completed in 2011.
Tow Trucks – Driver Safety Act
HB 1543 – requires enhanced yellow or amber light signal lighting and reflective painting or marking on the rear of all commercial tow trucks after October 1, 2018. This legislation is in response to increased motor vehicle incidents involving tow trucks and some resulting in fatalities including locally on I-95 involving a local fire chief and tow truck operator.
LOCAL ALCOHOL LEGISLATION:
Class 4 Limited Winery License
HB 972 – supports MD Agriculture and MD’s winery’s this bill requires a class 4 limited winery license holder that advertises as a “MD made wine” to use at least 51% of the grapes or fruit grown in MD or have at least 20 acres of grapes or other fruit in cultivation in the State for use in wine production. The Secretary of Agriculture each year may grant a 1 year exception for weather or unforeseen circumstances.
Allowing Stadium Alcohol – Vendors
HB 1343 – applies to the alcohol sales at Ripken Stadium. Currently, beer, wine and liquor are permitted for sale on the club level only. Beer is the only alcohol permitted to be sold on the general admission level. This bill will allow the general admission customers access to wine and liquor at the vendor both and only beer sales by roaming vendors in the stands. This legislation puts Ripken Stadium on par with all other sports stadiums in Maryland in regards to the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Harford County – Alcoholic Beverages Licenses – Social Organizations
HB 1498 – adds to the Harford County Alcoholic Beverages Code regarding Class C-3 licenses by expanding the 6 and 7 day license to include social organizations, and setting standards and minimums for such social organizations that hold a Class C-3 license.
PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY LEGISLATION:
Public Service Commission – Overhead Transmission Lines
HB 1126 – requires the Public Service Commission to not take final action on an application for a certificate of public convenience to an electric company without first reviewing if the applicant considered alternative routes for new overhead transmission lines, and has provided an explanation to why they did not chose the alternate route. This is in response to the proposed Transource power lines through North Harford.
Ethics – Boards of License Commissioners
HB 1469 – establishes that certain training requirements provided by the State Ethics Commission apply to members of local boards of license commissioners or liquor boards, and expands the financial disclosure requirements for the members on the local boards. This bill is to prevent future corruption cases recently reported from various boards across the State.
Labor and Employment – General Contractor (Contractor Payment Protection Act)
HB 1539 – give a general contractor a mechanism to hold a sub-contractor or their subordinate contractor jointly liable for failure to pay employee wages, and requires the faulting subcontractor to compensate the general contractor for any wages, damages, interest penalties, or attorney’s fees owed as a result of the subcontractor’s violations. This bill will protect general contractor’s from unreliable subcontractors, will ensure wages are paid, and supports small businesses and new businesses with limited cash flow.
With 7 days to go…there is a lot of work still to be done. In addition to the bills listed above, I still have a few bills in the House that are still alive and I will continue to fight for them. If you have any questions about legislation or ever need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 410-841-3331 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I always enjoy hearing from you while serving our community in Annapolis.
Mary Ann Lisanti
Delegate, District 34A