Report on 2016 Maryland Legislative Session

During the 2016 legislative session, we worked with our colleagues to fully fund our local schools, protect investment in local transportation improvements and reform the state’s criminal justice system to focus prison time on violent offenders, expand drug treatment, and reduce police misconduct.

Our economy is growing but, for too many of our neighbors, wages and salaries aren't. That's why we remained focused on job creation, raising incomes, and protecting public services for working and retired families. And we are vigilant to protect the progress Maryland has made in recent years -- expanding health insurance, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, promoting innovation, and expanding transit.

This year, we achieved key budget priorities including:

  • boosting state funds for schools in Prince George's and Anne Arundel by $66 million.

  • 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 $98.5 million.

  • balancing the budget to protect Maryland's AAA bond rating.

  • $8 million to help modernize Laurel Hospital and build a new Prince George's hospital.

  • $79.5 million to protect open space and $38.8 to improve local parks.

We worked to assure funds raised in the state transportation package we passed three years ago are used for important improvements to our communities:
  • Rebuilding Route One in College Park and modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton are under way.

  • Construction of the light rail Purple Line, connecting the Metro Green Line and the University of Maryland with Bethesda and New Carrollton, will begin later this year.

To reduce climate change, we increased the state’s goal to a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and to boost renewable electricity generation to 25% by 2020.

To help families help children with disabilities, the legislature passed the ABLE Act creating a program in which they can save money, in pretax dollars, to provide for their children as they grow up.

Recognizing the importance of the $1.8 billion University of Maryland campus to College Park, Beltsville, Laurel and neighboring communities, the legislature adopted our proposal to include in the campus' mission improvement of public safety, local schools, transportation options, health care, and environmental protection here.

We won $150,000 of state funds to complement City investment to improve the Hollywood commercial district in north College Park, including better pedestrian and bicycle access, circulation for local businesses, more green space, and outdoor seating space.

To protect medical services in Laurel and neighboring communities of Prince George's and Anne Arundel, the legislature mandated more than $100 million in state investment to keep Laurel and Prince George's Hospitals open, bring the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) to our community, modernize Laurel, and build a new Prince George's Hospital. The law also embraced a collaborative for UMMS and the community to develop modernization plans for Laurel.

We worked together on all these initiatives:
  • State legislation embracing the collaborative process between the Laurel community and the University of Maryland Medical System on the redesign and modernization of Laurel Hospital, championed by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, chair of the House Public Health Subcommittee.

  • Working diligently to protect the health and welfare of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, championed by Delegate Frush, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

  • Record funding for local schools, including increased state aid for the teacher pensions to put more local money in classrooms, championed by Delegate Barnes, vice chair of House Education Subcommittee. 

  • Guaranteeing most Maryland workers the right to payroll deduction retirement savings at work, 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.