Greetings! For the past two weeks I have been collaborating with my colleagues on legislation - revising, and filing bills while attending floor sessions each day and briefings from government agencies. I presented two of my bills to the House Environment and Transportation Committee, and am gearing up for several public hearings in my own committee, Economic Matters coming up next week.
Women Leading On Climate Resiliency
This week I was part of a group of four women legislators that introduced several bills intended to help make a more resilient Maryland. Click here to see the press release. This proactive package of bills will set up a structure within state government to oversee resiliency efforts around the state, while also providing funding mechanisms through local authorities and accountability through an environmental ombudsman in the Attorney General’s Office. I am working closely with my colleagues, Senator Katie Hester, Senator Sarah Elfreth, and Delegate Brooke Lierman, and am grateful for their partnership.
Delegate Watson Bill Updates
House Bill 78 – Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund - Uses
Both the Senate and House public hearings were held this week. The good news is that representatives from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Maryland Association of Counties testified in support, as did County Executive Calvin Ball. This bill will allow projects like the ones in Ellicott City’s Safe and Sound Plan to be eligible for funding from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Many thanks to Senator Katie Hester who cross-filed the bill in the Senate.
House Bill 30 – Sunset Island Act
The House public hearing for this bill was held this week, and both Ellicott City residents and citizens from around the state provided testimony outlining the reasons we need to prohibit secret agreements between condominium boar
ds of directors and builders that waive the legal rights of unit owners. Sunset Bay Condominium owners each face a $50,000 assessment, and while this bill will not help them, they want to make sure that this never happens to other condominium owners in the state. The Attorney General’s office testified in support of the bill, and we await a hearing date in the Senate.
Spotlight on New Bill
House Bill 431 – Motor Vehicle and Homeowner's Insurance - Use of Claim History in Rating Policies
Were you aware that some insurance companies will increase your homeowner policy insurance rates if you have an automobile accident? I have introduced HB 431, a consumer protection bill that would prohibit what I call “cross contamination of claims” history. This is a practice now with a handful of insurance companies that I believe should be prohibited. It is understandable for automobile insurance rates to go up when you have an accident, but that unfortunate car accident should not also cause your homeowners insurance rates to go up. The hearing on this bill is February 5th at 2 p.m.
Join Us for District 9 Night
Join Senator Hester, Delegates Kittleman and Miller, and me in Annapolis on February 3rd from 6-8 p.m. for District 9 Night. Light fare will be served, and afterward you are invited to walk to the State House with us and watch the 8 p.m. legislative session in reserved seats in the balcony. Last year this was a very popular event, and we hope you can make plans to attend. It’s an opportunity to speak with us, provide your feedback, and see government in action.
Staff of 9B – Intern Sarah Noble
Please welcome Sarah Noble to my District 9 office in Annapolis. Sarah is a college student who will be working in the office three days a week. Sarah has learned her way around quickly and has proven to be invaluable to us. It’s even better that Sarah works part time in a bakery and brings us cookies! Stop in and say hello to Sarah when you are in Annapolis.
Applications will soon be available for legislative scholarships for college and graduate school students. Send us an email (to the attention of Cindy Scruggs) to get on the list to be alerted when scholarship applications are available.
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 comments on bills we are reviewing in Annapolis. When requesting help for constituent matters, please include “Constituent” in the subject line.
Delegate Courtney Watson
Howard County District 9B
Member, Economic Matters Committee
Maryland House of Delegates
6 Bladen Street, Room 350
Annapolis, MD 21401