From the New Harford Democratic Club:
NEW HARFORD DEMOCRATIC CLUB
June 01, 2016
President Steve Johnson called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Johnson thanked everyone for coming out tonight.
Johnson asked for those present to introduce themselves.
Johnson then discussed the Have de Grace race, thanking those who stepped up to run.
Treasurer George Harrison presented the financial report, noting the operating account currently holds $12,195.24. He noted that income for the year to date totaled $3,043, including dues and additional contributions. Expenses included $488.07 for a mailer supporting Jason Robertson’s campaign. Additional expenses included for $773.02 for postage and mailing for the membership drive and $1,258.03 for printing and production of materials for the mailer. There was an expenditure of $636 for rent of the meeting room space for the first 5 months of the year for a total of $3,263.03 in expenses.
Art Helton moved to approve the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the members present.
Johnson asked for approval of the minutes from last month. Moved and approved unanimously.
***** CORRECTION *****
Tracy Robertson, member of the Democratic Central Committee was introduced to report on activity of the committee. She there were a number of activities planned for the summer. She asked for volunteers for the 4th of July Parade in Havre de Grace and the booth at the Harford Farm Fair. * CORRECTION * – HCDCC fundraiser is August 26th at Ironbirds game at Ripkin Stadium. Tickets are limited. The link to purchase those tickets is up on website. Also, there will be a Democratic booth at the Darlington Apple Festival.
President Johnson asked for committee reports;
Art Helton reported on voter registration efforts. He stated the concern is getting people to vote after they have been registered. We have been successful in registering Democrats on the Route 40 corridor but getting out to vote requires an even greater effort. Efforts are being made to join with other organizations such as the NAACP and the Democratic Central Committee.to make a concerted effort to sign up new voters. President Johnson commented that there has been an influx of new residents to the Aberdeen area as a result of the Base Realignment program and the club needs to make sure those people are registered to vote. He noted that the Route 40 corridor wields the “biggest bat” for the Democratic Party and it is necessary to get them registered and voting. Art said historically, this group has been under-registered by about 12% historically.
On Fundraising, Steve Johnson noted that Wendy Sawyer has been working to arrange Elija Cummings to be a speaker at a fundraiser. But he has been very busy in congress and we are looking others who have a high profile in the party.
George Harrison commented on issues. He noted that one of the major issues we have always dealt with is growth and development in the county. The current administration has sent to the county council the latest plan, called Harford Next. He noted that the organization called Friends of Harford, a group that keeps tab on development, has issues with this latest plan. He noted that the plan states that over 18,000 development unites still available in the development envelope. Even so, the administration proposes increases to the development envelope in three designated areas: Fallston, Forest Hill and an area on 136 near the intersection with I-95. Harrison requested approval of a statement from the club to be delivered in person to the council objecting to increasing the development envelope at this time. After spirited discussion, a motion was made to oppose the increase in the development envelope but not oppose the plan in general. It was seconded and passed unanimously.
Jack Barham reported on the website. He noted that the site has a new look and encouraged members to check it out. He said he has established a section on Trump and Governor Hogan.
President Johnson introduced the night’s featured speaker, Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti who represents District 34A.
Delegate Lisanti noted that she often was the only delegate from Harford County voting for many of the bills passed by the legislature that were beneficial to Harford residents.
She discussed several bills that were of interest to Harford:
She proposed Legislation to require policies at the local level to ensure that an election could not end in a tie; there must be a procedure to break a tie. This is related to the situation in Aberdeen’s recent city election in which two council candidates tied and there was no procedure to deal with it. She called the situation “outrageous” and believed the voters were pushed aside by not being allowed to make a final determination. The original bill called for a runoff election in the event of a tie, but Republicans argued that would cost too much. She said cost should not be a factor when it involves the right of voters to choose their elected officials. The bill passed but without the tie breaker she proposed. It will be up to the municipalities to determine how to deal with it.
Another bill dealt with recovery of costs associated with the widening of Route 22 in Aberdeen. Under the state’s plan, the city would have to bear the costs of moving water and sewer lines. This would mean the rate payers in Aberdeen would have to pay for some of the costs of a project dealing with a Federal installation. That would not be fair. The bill would require any such costs to be included in the original plan.
Also passed was a bill that closed a loophole in the hotel tax law which allowed third party booking agencies such as Hotels.com to pay a lower tax than those who book directly with the hotel.
A bill that did not pass would have allowed convicted felons to register to vote immediately after release instead of have to wait until after completion of their parole and probation period.
She said she also worked to approve bills that allowed funds collected for family members of fallen law enforcement members to avoid taxes, as well as legislation to allow children of fallen members to receive financial assistance normally reserved for spouses when there is no spouse.
She discussed a number of issues she worked on in the session and will be working on others during the summer preparing for next year.
President Johnson thanked Delegate Lisanti for her comments.
There being no further business, Johnson adjourned the meeting at 9:18p p.m.
Minutes courtesy of George Harrison, acting secretary.