Frederick County Legislator: 2024 General Assembly About Getting Back To Basics

Delegate Fair provides a wrap up of the just-completed session.

Delegate Kris Fair (Photo from Md. General Assembly)

Frederick, Md (KM) The recently completed 2024 Maryland General Assembly was all about getting back to basics, according to Frederick County Delegate Kris Fair. “We focused on what the citizens of Maryland needed, and kept our focus zeroed in on  that the entire time,” he says.

Fair says he and other lawmakers managed to secure $24 million for local projects. “From our cybersecurity upgrades that we have at the county level to our downtown hotel and conference center that we’ve been looking at  to local non-profits both large and small like the African-American Research and Cultural Heritage Museum,” he says.

Other projects include: “Heritage Frederick which is our Frederick County archive; and even smaller organizations like the Frederick County Women’s Civic Club that’s been around for generations and is doing upgrades to the historic Steiner House at the corner of Patrick and Jefferson Street,” says Fair.

He also says he worked with State Senator Karen Lewis Young, and both managed to get legislation passed covering home sales near  superfund sites. “We spent 15 months—me and Senator Lewis Young–spend 15 months together fighting to get that bill in a posture that was supported by all of the advocates as well as  the realtors and the Building Industry Association,” says Fair.

The legislation, which passed the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature, would require realtors selling a home to let a potential buyer know  if their new house is located within a mile of a superfund site. This legislation was inspired by plans to construct homes on property outside of Area B at Fort Detrick,  which was where chemicals and other biological wastes were dumped for years, contaminating the groundwater.

Another bill that made it through the House of Delegates and the Senate would establish a truancy reduction court in Frederick County. “It’s been a program that we’ve been voluntarily doing in Frederick County for a number of years to help students reduce absenteeism,” says Fair. “It is partnership with the School System, the courts and many local non-profits and mental health providers and support advocates.”

The goal of these courts is to get kids who are not attending school back into classes. A case manager would be appointed to find why some young people are not in school, and get they and their families in touch with services if necessary. This type of court is already in operation in Dorchester, Wicomico and Somerset Counties  on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore.

But not all bills passed. Fair says legislation he was sponsoring to repeal a law on Maryland’s books that subjects individuals to prosecution, prison time and fines for knowingly transmitting  or attempting  to transmit HIV to another person.  That’s  the virus which causes AIDS.   He says the measure passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support, but it never came up for a hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee before the General Assembly adjourned for the year.

“We did have some very encouraging conservations with the chair of Judicial Proceedings on the last day of session this year, and he has intimated that he is going to cross file the bill next year to insure that it gets a proper hearing in JPR,” he says.

Senator William C. Smith, Jr. of Montgomery County is the Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The Vice Chairman is Senator Jeff Waldstreicher also of Montgomery County.

The current law  took affect in 1989 when little was known about how HIV is transmitted.   But now treatments are available to control the HIV virus.

By Kevin McManus