Report on 2014 Maryland Legislative Session

The 2014 legislative session ended with the state budget balanced and much important legislation passed. With too many of our neighbors struggling in the current economy, we focused on job creation, raising incomes, and protecting public services which working and retired families rely on.

Key budget priorities included:

  • state aid to Prince George's and Anne Arundel to keep teachers, police, and firefighters on the job.

  • creating construction jobs in repairing UM buildings and local schools, and increasing investments in roads, bridges, and transit.

  • boosting investment in the University of Maryland and other public colleges by $177 million.

  • $15 million to help create a new Prince George's hospital system.

  • $41 million to protect open space and improve local parks.

The 2014 budget boosts state funds for Prince George's schools and Anne Arundel schools by $60 million. And it protects the 3 percent cap on college tuition hikes, continues to expand health insurance for working people and investment in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

After 3 years of negotiation, the legislature passed a compromise bill to modify the Maryland court ruling that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” and owners are strictly liable for any injury caused by their dog.  The unintended consequence of this ruling was an ineffective dog bite policy that treated dog bite victims differently depending on the type of dog that caused their injuries.   A fair compromise was reached for both dog owners and victims.

We worked hard to make sure funds raised in the state transportation package we passed last year are budgeted this year for important improvements to our communities:

  • moving forward to rebuild Route One in College Park.

  • modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton.

  • continued development of the light rail Purple Line connecting the Metro Green Line and the University of Maryland with Bethesda and New Carrolton.

  • adding two new afternoon trips on the MARC Camden Line through Laurel, Beltsville, and College Park.

  • expanding MARC service to the weekends on the Penn Line through Odenton.

  • new double-decker passenger cars on both MARC lines to reduce overcrowding.

To help fill the many potholes created by this winter's weather, we won $1.5 million in new state aid to Prince George's and Anne Arundel to fix local roads.

In Laurel, we secured state funds to improve the Armory Anderson Murphy recreation center and the Laurel Park Path System. These investments will preserve our local history and improve recreation for our families.
 
And in College Park, we got the law changed to permanently allow the University and the City to provide UMCP shuttle buses to city residents.

We worked together on all these initiatives:

  • requiring law enforcement agencies to develop uniform, written procedures to promote greater accuracy of eyewitness identification panels in order to increase the ability of prosecutors to convict the guilty and protect the innocent, championed by Delegate Peña-Melnyk.

  • continuing to work to clean up the Chesapeake  Bay, support renewable energy, and protect the Watershed Improvement Fund, championed by Delegate Frush.

  • advocating for progressive legislation including the Minimum Wage increase by Delegate Ben Barnes while serving on the House Economic Matters Committee and as Chief Deputy Majority Whip.

  • protecting, and working to expand, local bus service in Laurel, Beltsville, College Park, and Piney Orchard, and Odenton, championed by Senator Rosapepe.

Please let us know if there are other issues you have questions or thoughts about. And, of course, feel free to be in touch if we can be of help to you.