It has been a busy few weeks in Annapolis since the 2013 Session convened on January 9th. We have many important issues before us this year.
A few of the more prominent debates this year will be centered on the repeal of the death penalty in the state of Maryland, the Governor's proposal for off-shore wind power, gun reform, Marcellus Shale drilling (sometimes known as "fracking"), speed cameras and driving statistics, and the State's implementation of the national health care reforms. Each standing committee receives policy briefings on the issues that legislators will address in their committee. The briefings are listed on the General Assembly's website (mgaleg.maryland.gov) under the Schedules headings on the home page. If these topics are of interest to you,you will find the briefings very informative.
In addition, this week the Governor introduced a proposed $37.3 billion fiscal 2014 budget for the State. A few of the Budget highlights include:
- The general fund structural deficit is reduced by more than $200 million to $166 million; 83 Cents of every FY14 General Fund Dolllar goes to education, health and public safety.
- State universities and colleges receive an increase of 7.4%. Tuition at Maryland colleges has gone from the 6th highest tuition in the Nation in 2007 to the 27th in the most recent surveys. Five of Maryland's educational institutions are among Kiplinger's top 100 public colleges, including the University of Maryland, College Park at number 5 in the country.
- Violent crime is down almost 25%; the budget increases local police aid to a 20 year high,
- Maryland is the 9th fastest in the Nation in job recovery, recovering 80% of the jobs lost during the recession; the Capital Budget infrastructure investments will support 43,000 jobs.
You can find more general budget and other information here at The Legislative Wrap-Up, http://mgaleg.
maryland.gov/pubs-current/ current-legislative-wrap-up. pdf, a
summary of the week's activities, published by the Department of
Legislative Services. It is a short, informative newsletter to help you
keep abreast of the happenings in Annapolis.
I strongly encourage you to share your views with me on these important issues which will affect you and all Marylanders in the months and years to come. Please feel free to stop by my office in 203 of the Lowe House Office Building in Annapolis, or email me at michael.summers@house.
state.md.us and let me know what is important to you.
Michael G. Summers