The first day of the session is Jan. 8th.
Frederick, Md (KM) Legislators are getting ready for the Maryland General Assembly which convenes next month.
Frederick County State Senator Ron Young (D) says he’s working on some bond bills. “I’m going to get a half-million dollars for the veterans senior service center,” he says. “Try to get a half-million dollars for the homeless facility up at the old Board of Education building on Hayward Road.” That facility is expected to be run by the Religious Coalition.
He says he hopes to bring back funds for other needs, such as an expansion of the county’s fire service training center.
In addition, Senator Young says he will introduced a bill which covers Marylanders who have state permits to carry handguns. “I have a bill in that’s going to require someone who has a right-to-carry permit to get training twice a year so they know how to use the weapon safely,” says Young.
He also has another bill to cover assault weapons. “I’m also proposing a five-dollar checkoff on tax forms to build up a fund to buy back assault weapons,” he says. “It’s on a voluntary basis.”
Funding for public education is expected to be a big issue during the 2020 General Assembly Session. Earlier this year, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future was passed by the General Assembly and became law without the Governor’s signature. It would require spending on education to increase by $1-billion over a two-year period. Senator Young says the first, four years of the blueprint are funded, but there needs to be a plan to pay for the remaining six years. “There’s a formula, a split between local and state government. There are a couple jurisdictions that are going to have a hard time paying for it. So we’re going to have to look at how to handle that,” he says.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future follows recommendations from the Kirwan Commission which conducted a three-year study on how improve education in Maryland. It came up with a plan to create, what it calls, a world-class education for young people, and to make teaching an honored profession.
Among the recommendations from the Blueprint are increases in teachers’ starting salaries to $60.000 annually, and universal pre-kindergarten education for all young children.
Critics have said these and other recommendations are costly, and may lead to tax increases. In an interview with WFMD News, Delegate Ken Kerr (D) said Frederick County has been adequately funding education in recent years.
The 2020 Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to convene its 90-day session on January 8th.
By Kevin McManus