Crossover week was busy with multiple voting sessions per day in order to move as many bills as possible from the House to the Senate by the deadline of Monday March 18th. As long as bills are sent to the Senate before that deadline, they are guaranteed a hearing before the appropriate subcommittee in the Senate and a chance to be passed by the full Senate.
The MD General Assembly has passed some bills in both the House and the Senate and have sent those to the Governor to sign. Governor Hogan has six business days to decide whether to sign, let the bill become law without his signature, or veto. The bills that have been sent include: HB 336 Federal Shutdown and Paycheck Protection Act (would help those federal employees required to work during a government shutdown but do not qualify for unemployment insurance and are not getting paid); HB 166 Minimum Wage (increases minimum wage starting January 1, 2020 and provides supplemental funding for Medicaid funded providers); SB128 School Calendar Local Control (allows the local Board of Education to set the start and end date). Look for final resolutions on these bills in the next week.
A Year for Education
The House of Delegates invested an additional $500 million for school construction and a record $7 billion for public schools including funding for initial Kirwan Commission recommendations such as additional funding for special education, increasing teachers’ salaries and full day pre-k for some students. On March 11 there was a rally in Annapolis with over 8,000 teachers and supporters from all over the state to advocate for education funding. It was great to see our Howard County’s educators there!
My bill to mandate $5 million a year of funding to the Comprehensive Flood Management Fund in future budgets (starting 2020) to help Ellicott City which was cross filed in the Senate by Senator Hester passed the House but ran into a wall in the Senate. The Senate passed the bill but did not mandate funding. Fortunately, our strategy was to cross file the bill which means that the two competing versions of the bill will be resolved by a conference committee – hopefully in favor of providing the funding. A second bill to provide $3 million of funding for Ellicott City in this year’s (available June 1, 2019) capital budget bill has passed the House and waits action in the Senate.
The Maryland General Assembly has a student scholarship program for students in each district that is managed by each Delegate. District 9B students may apply for scholarship funds for school year 2019/2020 using this link. The deadline for consideration is April 15th. Please spread this word to students you know. https://www.courtneywatson9b.com/scholarship
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Historic Ellicott City
County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball is holding a meeting to review progress for historic Ellicott City on Thursday, May 2nd. Please stay tuned for more details.
End of Session Community Meeting
Please join me and special guest, Senator Katie Fry-Hester on Tuesday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m. for an end of session community meeting to be held at the Miller Branch Library (9421 Frederick Road) in the Ellicott and Patapsco meeting rooms.
Congratulations to District 9B resident Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz for being one of three women inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame. Buffy has a long track record of being involved in the community including with the Women’s Giving Circle, Sandy Hook Promise and Howard County Women against Gun Violence. She joins two other outstanding contributors to our county in George Eacker and Cathy Hudson. You can attend the ceremony on Thursday, March 28th at 7 p.m. at the George Howard Building.
Join us to watch a floor session, receive a tour, and be introduced to the General Assembly. Call Terry Chaconas to arrange it. We love to have visitors!
How to Contact My Office
Your thoughts are always welcome. Please contact me by phone or email with your thoughts on bills we are reviewing in Annapolis.
Delegate Courtney Watson
Howard County District 9B
Member, Economic Matters Committee
Maryland House of Delegates
6 Bladen Street, Room 209
Annapolis, MD 21401
Email: Courtney.Watson@house.state. md.us