Council Discusses Legislative Package

They’ll be presented to the delegation in November.


Frederick, Md (KM). The Frederick County Council on Tuesday finalized most of its 2018 Legislative Package.

The panel voted in favor of a bill sponsored by Councilman Jerry Donald which would eliminate the requirement that  applicants for  liquor licenses  for  banquet facilities have an investment of at least $250,000. The board also supported a position statement which calls  for the General Assembly to enact a law to require the Maryland Department of Health to identify Biolevel Safety Labs 3  in the state which do not work with federally regulated biological select agents and toxins or their products at their locations. Another position statement calls for support of legislation to increase legal protections for youth victims of human trafficking and provide services to these victims. Another statement would request the state delegation to look into options for shifting school construction funds between school projects.

But two proposed bills generated some discussion. One from Councilman Billy Shreve would back legislation authorizing the sales of mobile homes be handled like real property transactions, instead of motor vehicle transactions. But Chief of Staff Regan Cherney said that may need some action at the federal level before the state could do anything. “:There is going to be a lot more tentacles of this, so to speak, that need to be really unwrangled.,:” he said. “There would need to be a federal component to follow up on this.”

The legislation was defeated, and will not be added to the Council’s Legislative “wish list.”

Another bill, also sponsored by Councilman Shreve, would exempt affordable housing projects from the Forest Resource Ordinance. Shreve said this law makes houses more costly. “This ordinance cost 33%% more,” he said. “And for some reason, previously, it was excluded in lots below 40 ,000 square feet. But now it’s not. So that definitely adds a cost to housing.

The Council decided not to add this bill to its Legislative Package. Some members wondered if this amendment could be decided at a local level.

Councilman Tony Chmelik asked that his colleagues delay action for now on his bill to let home schooled children participate in extracurricular activities in public schools. He said he wanted the Board of Education to weigh in on it.

Roger Wilson, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, presented the County Executive’s proposed 2018 Legislative package. it contains a bill which makes changes to the Maryland Ethics Law as it relates to Frederick County; It would prohibit Planning Commission members running for public office to receive campaign contributions from an applicant with a pending application before the county, or their agents.

One position statement from the County Executive calls for the restoration of highway user revenue which was lost during the recession when the money was shifted by the state. Wilson says Frederick County lost $13-million. Another statement calls for an increase in funding for school construction and renovation.

The position statement which generated a lot of discussion among the Council came from the Frederick “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” It would require judges to inform defendants convicted of domestic violence offenses that they are prohibited from possessing regulated firearms, rifles and shotguns. Councilman Shreve wanted a definition of “regulated firearms.” “As far I know, rifles and shotguns are not regulated,” he said. “No wonder it didn’t make it. It’s not accurate.”

A similar bill passed the State Senate during the 2017 General Assembly, but didn’t make it out of the House of Delegates.

Wilson said he would do more research on what types of guns are covered under this bill. But Council Vice President, MC Keegan-Ayer,  described what the legislation says. “It requires the court to advise the person that specified proof must be provided to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that specified firearms owned by the person or in the person’s possession have been transferred from the person’s possession, etc,” she said.

Other positions statements include:

* The Transportation Services Advisory Council is asking for  legislators to support a bill to increase funding for paratransit transportation.

* The Frederick County Farm Bureau is asking for support of the Maryland Cover Crop Program, dredging the Conowingo Dam, Agriculture Sales Tax exemption, Agricultural Education Curriculum and wildlife control.

* The City of Frederick is requesting a bill prohibiting a person with a non-plug in electrical vehicle from stopping, standing or parking in an area reserved for plug-in electric vehicles.

* The United Way of Frederick County is asking for support for legislation to help eliminate poverty.

* The Frederick Soil Conservation District is asking for increased funding for the Maryland Agriculture Water Quality Cost Share program. It’s currently funded at 8-million for the upcoming fiscal year. The District wants to see that go up to $10-million due to the backlog of projects created by an absence of funding in fiscal year 2016.

The Legislative Packages from the Council and County Executive are scheduled to be presented to the local Delegation on Thursday, November 16th at 12:00 PM.


By Kevin McManus