Senator Hough chosen as Vice Chair.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Delegate Carol Krimm (D) was chosen to chair the local Legislative Delegation, and State Senator Michael Hough (R) was elected vice chairman.
But the process was not a smooth one. Prior to the vote, State Senator Ron Young (D) proposed to alternate the chair and vice chair between Democrats and Republicans, considering that both parties have equal representation. But it was voted down.
Then Senator Young posed this question to Delegate Krimm. “Who on this board called and asked you to be chair,” he said. “Can we not start off on this,” State Senator Michael Hough (R) responded. “We did start off this way! That’s the problem,”: said Young. Hough continued: “We started off on Robert’s Rules. We did everything properly. I’m sorry you don’t like the outcome.”.
“It’s not appropriate to attack people’s egos, bring up personal things. That’s a rule of the Senate and House, and you’re not setting a good example,” Hough continued. . “I’m happy to work with Delegate Krimm. I think it will be a good bipartisan team. And I hope you will come around.” Senator Young continued to ask “who called Delegate Krimm and asked her to be chair.”
Young said he wanted these discussions about who should be the chair to be out in the open, note discussed behind closed doors. He emphasized he’s not interested in being chairman of the Delegation.
Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D) said she was contacted by Delegate Krimm for support. “And when Delegate Krimm called me, she told me Senator Hough had called her and asked her to be chair,” she said.
The newly elected chairwoman, Delegate Krimm, said it was time to move on to other issues. But she did take note of the split among the Delegation on party lines. . “I do support the sharing of leadership back in forth. I have no problem with that,” she said. “This is a work in progress. During this year,we will have other issues to consider.” She said that issue of alternating the position of chairperson could be brought up at a later time.
The Delegation also heard from the public on various issues. Ed Hinde, the Executive Director of Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership, said work is underway a Right to Consent Bill which would allow unaccompanied minor children, those without parents or guardians, who are homeless to decide if they want to live in emergency or transitional shelter. “This would be a very narrowly defined bill that would give that child the ability to consent for themselves should the sheltering agency–SHIP in this case–not be able to locate a parent or a legal guardian,” he said.
He said most of these children are between 16 and 18 years of age.
A survey by the University of Maryland School of Social Work says there are 2600 unaccompanied children in the state, and that includes 254 kids in Frederick County. “Our homeless ranks within the school system itself here locally are growing at 15%, 17%, 19% each year,” Hinde said. “We’re on track currently right now to have 1,000 children in our school system who are homeless this year.”
Hinde says SHIP is planning to have a network of host families in place by the beginning of the next school year to house these unaccompanied children so they can continue their education, and have access to services such as medical care, legal rights and transportation.
The Delegation also discussed bond bills, including one to help fund Sophie and Madigan’s Memorial Playground which is planned for the Westside Regional Park along Butterfly Lane in Frederick. The two girls were killed in a house fire in Myersville in January, 2013. Since then,. the girls’ family and volunteers have been raising money to help pay for the facility.
The bond bill, which would provide $200,000 toward the project, is sponsored by Delegate Karen Lewis Young., who said the project is “shovel ready,”: a requirement for any bond bill.
Young said it will be a unique park located on the west side of the city of Frederick. “There are many children in that community that are economically disadvantaged that don’t have a lot of park space and a lot of opportunities for learning and play,” she said.
The girls’ mother, Chrissy Lilliard, told elected officials that she and other volunteers have raised $500,000 toward the project. “We’re at the point now with the property and a time frame to look for larger donors to help makes this a reality,” she said.
Lilliard also said work on the first phase of Sophie and Madigan’s Playground is expected to begin in June, 2019. “We will be building the first phase of the playground which will be the first and only fully accessible playground in Frederick city,” she says.
By Kevin McManus