Frederick County Legislators Taking Stock Now That General Assembly Has Adjourned

They say they were able to bring back state funding for local projects.

Delegate Ken Kerr

Frederick, Md (KM) It was a normal legislative session in the six years he’s been going down to Annapolis. That’s how Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr describes the recently adjourned 2024 Maryland General Assembly. In Previous sessions, he says lawmakers had to deal with the death of House Speaker Michael Busch in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic.   But things were a bit calmer this year, and a lot was accomplished, Kerr says.

For one, he says lawmakers were able to secure state funding for a number of Frederick County projects. “We got the 7th Street Fountain rehabilitation and park project was funded. Some money for the Steiner House; the Thurmont Little League; the YMCA; the Catoctin Zoo.”

Other projects included: :”Brunswick Building Blocks Program; some money for Heritage Frederick; some money for the Middletown Town Hall; a quarter of a million dollars to help Frederick City with traffic calming; the Asian-American Center of Frederick for their child care center that they’re working on,” says Kerr.

One bill that passed and is before the Governor for his signature would require hospitals and urgent care centers to develop protocols to diagnose a patient who appears to have sepsis, and take the appropriate action if the test is positive.   “Maryland is the first state to include urgent care centers. They have to train their staff in how to recognize sepsis,” says Kerr. “While they’re not equipped to treat it, then they are to make arrangements for transporting to an emergency department or a hospital that has an ICU {Intensive Care Unit}”

Kerr, who was the sponsor of this bill in the House of Delegates, says quick action could literally be the difference between life and death. “Every hour that you wait, you delay treatment, you increase the chances a patient is going to die by eight percent,” he says.

Sepsis is a condition that results when the body over reacts to the presence of harmful microorganisms in the body and other tissues. The response can lead to organ failure, .shock and even death.

While many bills were passed, Kerr says there was one that made it out of the General Assembly which would repeal a law in Frederick which first took  affect in 1917. “Frederick was actually able to arrest vagrants, and put them to work on road crews. Obviously, we don’t do that anymore. But it’s the kind of bill that’s on the books that shouldn’t be on the books,” he says.

The legislation to repeal was sponsored by Frederick County Delegate Karen Simpson, who called the 1917 law an example of the Jim Crow Laws which were in affect many years ago.

But not all bills made it out. “I don’t know what happened to the Sheriff’s salary study bill. But that one didn’t make it back to the House in time,” Kerr says.  It unanimously  passed the Senate.

If the bill had passed, it would have set up a work group to study salaries of other sheriffs and similar law enforcement officials  across the state, and come up with a recommendations on what to pay the Sheriff of Frederick County who  is currently paid  $125,000 annually.

The legislation was supported unanimously by the Frederick County Legislative Delegation.

Now that the Session is over, Kerr says the job shifts to one of constituent services. He also  serves on the Procurement Improvement Council, the Nursing Home Oversight Committee, and Joint Committee for Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Biotechnology. Along with that, Kerr says he and other lawmakers will be awarding scholarship money to students attending college and trade schools.

“We keep busy. We’re just not in Annapolis for the next nine months,” he says.

By Kevin McManus