Legislators in Districts 11 and 41 have been sending out their 2019 legislative wrap-up newsletters and making the rounds at community meetings, informing residents of their work during the busy and sometimes contentious session —marked by the unexpected death of longtime House speaker Michael E. Busch and a special session this month to elect his successor.
This week, the JT highlights District 41’s work. Next week District 11 legislation will be the focus.
As the Preakness Stakes approaches, the fate of Pimlico is in the news. For Del. Sandy Rosenberg, Pimlico redevelopment and keeping the Preakness in Baltimore was a legislative priority, as track owners, the Stronach Group, continue pressure to move the historic race to their Laurel Park facility.
A study by the Maryland Stadium Authority forwarded by Rosenberg concluded that the property, bounded by Park Heights Avenue, Northern Parkway, Pimlico Road and W. Belvedere Avenue should be redeveloped with public and private money.
“Keeping the Preakness in Baltimore bolsters the region’s economy,” Rosenberg said. “Productive use of the property benefits all of the surrounding neighborhoods. Maryland’s racing industry will thrive from public and private investment in Pimlico, Laurel, and Bowie. The 41st District delegation, Sen. Jill Carter, and delegates Dalya Attar and Tony Bridges, and myself, will continue to work together and with Pimlico’s neighbors to make this happen.”
Rosenberg’s House Bill 1274 creates an Opioid Restitution Fund to direct how state money from an opioid-industry lawsuit would be spent, including improving access to Naloxone, treatment services, education and enforcing opioid prescription and sales laws. In addition, Rosenberg said the future of the state’s public education system was a focus for him, including early support for pre-kindergarten students, high-quality and diverse teachers and school leaders, college and career readiness and system accountability. He also supported preserving funding for parochial schools.
As far as the sometimes contentious process for selecting Busch’s successor, 10th District Del. Adrienne A. Jones, Rosenberg called Jones a “consensus candidate,” who will unify the 141-member body. The selection process first pitted P.G. County Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-District 25) against Baltimore Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-District 43), with Jones emerging as the compromise candidate. Jones had served as Busch’s Speaker Pro Tem for 16 years.
“She represents our neighboring Liberty Road community and is very familiar with the issues of importance to Northwest Baltimore, the City as a whole, and the metropolitan region,” Rosenberg said.
For Del. Tony Bridges (D-District 41), his first session focused on transportation and Pimlico.
“We have to use Pimlico and the Preakness to spur investments in a community in need,” he said. “Renovating Pimlico and keeping the Preakness is not only about keeping our history of almost 150 years intact, it’s also about improving quality of life for Park Heights residents, creating jobs, offering an opportunity to those without opportune circumstances, and it’s a chance to bring hope to a community that is ready for sustained revitalization.”
Bridges sponsored HB 771, from which funds were allocated to study U.S. regional transportation authorities and their transit-oriented development strategies; geographical boundaries of a potential regional transportation authority; analyze existing regional transportation agreements; analyze existing transportation agreements between operators of transportation services; explore the options for financing transportation systems within the regional boundaries; and recommendations for creating, financing and operating a regional transportation authority.
“I strongly believe that public transportation for the core service of the MTA is inadequate and we must look at the tools that other regions use to create a better system and apply it here,” Bridges said.
Bridges is looking forward to working with House Speaker Jones.
“This was a historic first for Maryland with her being the first woman and first African American to ever hold that position,” he said. “Speaker Jones will do a great job as the leader of the house and I’m looking forward to working with her during this upcoming session. I think we are in great hands under her leadership.”
The 41st’s first-term Sen. Jill P. Carter was active on 139 bills this session, including 43 as lead sponsor, four of which have been approved by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Carter’s SB 237 on Vehicle Laws repeals imprisonment and reduces the points penalty for a person convicted of possessing any canceled, revoked, or suspended license. Her SB 619, requiring the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation to adopt certain ethics and auditing procedures by the end of this month, comes on the heels of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation amid scandal surrounding her self-published children’s books purchased by UMMS and other institutions.
In addition, Carter’s SB 622 involves the study and compilation of information about firearms used in crimes and whether those possessing firearms used in crimes were previously prohibited from possessing firearms. And her SB 822 decriminalizes and/or alters the penalties for various betting and/or gambling-related offenses.
On May 1, when Del. Jones was elected Speaker, Carter tweeted, “Much to the chagrin and surprise of the pundits and the media @DelegateAJones has made history *again* in becoming the first Black Woman elected Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates!” and “Never underestimate the power the power a black woman!”
For Del. Dalya Attar, the session was also her first. A busy assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore City, she backed 35 bills, with 11 co-sponsored bills passing. She also supported a joint resolution on freedom of the press.
Her sponsored HB 1243 requiring motor scooter sharing companies to include embossed contact information on their scooters for blind or visually impaired people (who have trouble navigating sidewalks where scooters have been left), passed the House and had a favorable report from the Senate Finance committee, but did not get a Senate floor vote this session.
Attar said when she was elected her focuses included children, education and public safety and that was reflected in the legislation she co-sponsored
Attar’s co-sponsored legislation that passed included bills on electronic bullying that induces suicide; threats of hate crimes; access to unemployment insurance benefits or no-interest loan programs for federal employees affected by shutdowns; reclassifying selling of a minor from a misdemeanor to a felony; an audit of the Baltimore Police Department; housing for homeless veterans; child abuse and neglect; and environmental bills affecting children and schools.
The Freedom of the Press Day resolution she backed was to memorialize the five employees killed in the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. The resolution designated June 28, the day of the killings in 2018, as Freedom of the Press Day.