A number new lawmakers are serving the first year of their four-year terms.
Annapolis, Md (KM). A lot of issues will be coming before the 2019 Maryland General Assembly, which convened its 90-day session on Wednesday.
One of them is expected to be transportation. Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr (D-3B) says that’s one issue he wants to tackle, especially when it concerns Route 15. “The three-mile stretch of Route 15 is a constant bottleneck, choke point in Frederick. We want to get that moved up on the Highway Priority list,” he says
Transportation is also a big issue with newly sworn-in Delegate Jesse Pippy (R-4), especially when it comes to Route 15, and Interstates 70 and 270. But he also expects to tackle the opioid problem. “Although there has been legislation to deal with the epidemic, there’s still a lot of issues,” he says. “People are passing away. In some cases the epidemic is actually growing. So we’re going to have to address that.”
But as a new kid on the block, Delegate Kerr says he’s been told not to do much too soon. “This first year is really going to be a learning year for me. They caution all of us ‘don’t try to come out of the gate, dropping a half-a-dozen bills.’ Just work one bill, see how it works and get that through,” he says.
Pippy also says he will concentrate on issues that are of concern to his constituents. :”What I told people on the campaign trail was I am your local representative. I’m not running to go to DC. I’m focused on schools, roads, bridges, nothing glamorous. I’m working hard on your behalf to make your life a little easier,” he said.
Returning for his third term is Frederick County State Senator Ron Young (D). He says he has been given a number of new assignments, including a seat on the Kirwan Commission, which is working to make Maryland schools more competitive on a global scale. He also says he wants to see some progress on a local project. “We’re still working to get the money for the infrastructure for the downtown hotel and conference center. And I hope we are finally successful with that this year,” he says. “We’ve gotten the money before; the Governor’s just blocked it.”
Senator Young says a number of bond bills have been submitted, including some state funds for Sophie Madigan’s Playground to be located on Hargett Farm Property in Frederick. . It’s named,ed after Sophie and Madigan Lilliard, two little girls who perished in a house fire in Myersville in 2013.
As lawmakers were coming to the State House for the start of the 2019 General Assembly Session, they were greeted by demonstrators carrying green surfboards. They were taking part in a “Climate Wave” rally to show support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. “The first thing this bill does is expand our current renewable portfolio standard,” says Kristen Collings, Deputy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “It mandates us to double clean energy in the state by 50% by 2030.”
She says it also requires a study on what to do to get the state to get 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2040.
Collings says part of this rally is get Governor Larry Hogan to support this bill. . “We have a majority in the House of Delegates. We have a majority in the Senate. And now the only question remaining is where is Governor Hogan on this critical bill for our climate,” she says.
In addition, she says, states like Maryland must take the lead on climate issues. “Solving the climate crisis is critical. I’ve got two young daughters and I can’t look them in the eye and say ‘I didn’t do everything I could,'” says Collings. “Our planet is in peril, and the states have to lead the way. We’ve got a climate denier in the White House, and it’s up to states like Maryland to set the bar for clean energy, for solving the climate crisis.”
All of the quotes for this story come courtesy of WDVM-TV.
By Kevin McManus