County Executive Holds Town Hall Meeting On 2018 Legislative Package

The package will be presented to the local delegation on November 16th.


Frederick, Md (KM) Only a handful of people spoke Thursday night during a town hall meeting organized by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. She was soliciting comments on the proposed 2018 Legislative Package.

Gardner is proposing one bill on ethics. If passed, it would prohibit Planning Commission members who are running for the County Council or County Executive from accepting campaign contributions from individuals with applications before the board or their agents. The current prohibition is in effect for County Council members and the County Executive.

There are a number of position statements, including one to restore State Highway User revenue to the County which was lost nine years ago following  the Great Recession. Another supports an increase in state funding for school construction and renovation, and increased funding for para transit. There’s also a position statement supporting a bill to inform persons convicted of domestic violence-related offense that they cannot possess regulated firearms, rifles and shotguns. It was submitted by the Frederick chapter of  Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

County Councilman Tony Chmelik has submitted a bill to allow home schooled children the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities put on by Frederick County Public Schools. Councilman Billy Shreve has proposed two bills: one would that mobile home sales be classified as real property transactions and not motor vehicle transactions. A second bill would exempt affordable housing projects from Forest Resource Ordinance restrictions.

One position statement from Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer supports a bill to require the State Department of Health to develop a list of Biosafty Level 3 labs  in the state which do not work with federally regulated biological agents and toxins. Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater submitted a position statement to increase legal protections for youth victims  of human trafficking and provide services to these victims. And Councilman Kirby Delauter supports a position statement which would investigate “options’ for shifting school construction funds between local school projects.

Dr. Bob Hawley, a member of the Containment Lab Community Advisory Committee, spoke in favor of the bill to require a listing be made of BSL-3 labs in Maryland. He said no government agency keeps track of these facilities. “The state, therefore, does not have the basic information required to address emergency response as well as public health and safety concerns associated with these laboratory operations,” he says. Dr. Hawley says it would not require the state to regulate or oversee these labs.

Susan Smith with the Frederick chapter “Every Town for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense for America”  supported the bill which would require those convicted of domestic violence offenses to relinquished any guns they own. “In the 12 months ending in June of 2016., there were 55 domestic fatalities in our state, leaving 47 children behind. 58% of these victims were shot and killed with a gun,,” she said.

Smith also said that jurisdictions which have this law saw lower domestic homicides by gun. She cited a study by Boston University’s School of Public Health.

The County Council is expect to hold a workshop on October 24th to review and provide input on the Legislative Package. It’s expected to be finalized in the first week of November and be presented to the Delegation on November 16th. Legislators will hold a hearing on the package on Saturday, December 2nd at 2:00 PM at Winchester Hall. The Maryland General Assembly convenes into session on January 10th, 2018 at 12:00 noon.


By Kevin McManus